Radomers Pioneers in Israel
When the survivors of the Nazi holocaust began to arrive in Israel they were welcomed with open arms by all Radomers living in Israel.
The Radomer settlement dates back to the early years of this century. People from Radom were among the first colonists of the devastated land. During the succeeding waves of immigration, more Halutzim followed in their footsteps. They drained swamps, built roads, worked in the fields and stood guard over their Kibbutzim against Arab marauders. During the First World War they fought in the Jewish Legion and died with Trumpeldor in defense of their homeland. And when World War II broke out, another generation of pioneers joined the Jewish Brigade and waged war against the Nazis as part of the Allied effort. Radomers were members of the Haganah and fought in the war of Independence. They took part in the Sinai Campaign and are now among the builders and leaders of the State of Israel.
Yirgun Yotzei Radom
The organization of Radomers in Israel is now completing twenty years of activities on behalf of immigrants from Radom. Founded in 1942 in Tel Aviv, the group was primarily concerned with rescue work. This was a time when the first news of tragic events in Poland began to reach the Yishuv in Palestine. A few Jewish families holding British passports had arrived in Tel Aviv from the Radom ghetto and brought with them first hand reports of the disaster in Radom.
Among the founders were: Zvi Katz, Israel Zwigenberg, Itzhak Fligelman, Zvi Glatt, Chaim Hochman, and others. Their first meetings were held in the home of Samuel and Malka Margolis. In cooperation with several other organizations, the group organized mass protest rallies to call the attention of the world to the slaughter of Jews being carried out in Poland. A mass demonstration in a Tel Aviv square was dispersed by British police.
The Yirgun committee gave material aid to many Radomer refugees arriving in Palestine from the Soviet Union through Iran. It also conducted a campaign for young men to join a Jewish unit to be established in the British army. Many Radomers joined the Brigade and later led rescue activities among the survivors of Nazi camps.
Aid to New Immigrants
The Yirgun gave considerable assistance to new immigrants who arrived after the war. The committee members utilized their contacts in the community to find housing and jobs for the new arrivals and to help them during the initial transition period. Yechiel Frenkel, honorary president of the Yirgun until his death in 1953, was particularly active in this respect. He showed a genuine personal interest in everyone who came to live in Israel.
After Frenkel's death, the Yirgun took over his apartment on I.L. Goldberg Street in Tel Aviv. Called Beth Frenkel, it now houses his extensive archives and library and serves as an office and meeting place for the Radomers.
One of the major accomplishments of the Yirgun was the establishment of the interest-free loan bank. Numerous Radomers availed themselves of this service, which helped them get established in business or profession. Many hardships and emergency cases were relieved by loans or outright donations offered by the Yirgun.
The achievements of the Gemilath-Chesed institution were made possible, to a great measure, by contributions received from the United Radomer Relief in the United States and Canada. In recent years the Yirgun's relief capacity was considerably increased by the Diamond Family Loan Fund, established by Jack and Sadie Diamond of New York, and administered by the Yirgun.
Social and Cultural Activities
In addition to its welfare activities, the Yirgun is the social and cultural center for Radomers in Israel. One of its traditional functions, begun with the founding of the organization, is the annual memorial meeting in honor of the destroyed Jewish community of Radom and its thirty thousand martyrs. It is always a very solemn occasion, attended by hundreds of Radomers from many towns and settlements in Israel.
Another means of maintaining common bonds among the Radomer communities in Israel is the Radomer Congregation, which organizes annual High Holiday services. Yizkor prayers are then recited to commemorate the Radomer pioneers and heroes of the War of Independence and Sinai Campaign who gave their lives for Israel.
The Yirgun considers it its pleasant duty to serve as reception committee and host to many Radomers who arrive in Israel as tourists from abroad. The Yirgun maintains close contacts with Radomer organizations in the United States, Canada, Australia and France.
The outstanding accomplishment of the Yirgun Yotzei Radom was, of course, the completion of the Book of Radom. The task was mastered by a Book Committee, consisting of these long-time devotedly active members of the Yirgun:
Pinchas Gal (Fogelman)Yirgun Leadership
Samuel Eli Margolis
Leib Rychtman Secretary
Jehuda Leib Zucker Chairman
The affairs of the Yirgun Yotzei Radom are conducted by a Council and Executive Committee, elected annually by secret ballot at a general meeting. The most recent meeting, held on January 12, 1963, in Tel Aviv, was attended by several hundred Radomers. A great number of them expressed a desire to actively participate in the Yirgun work. A new, 42-member Council was elected, which included several new volunteers; among them are Mr. Yechiel Leszcz, one of Radom's leading citizens, who had just arrived from Uruguay to settle in Israel, and Mr. Emanuel Frenkel, son of the late Yechiel. Attorney Moshe Goldblum was re-elected chairman, Samuel Neidik and Jacob Davidson as co-chairman, and Selig Banker as recording secretary.
Mr. Moshe Rothenberg, veteran leader of the Yirgun since his arrival in Israel in 1947, was re-elected president of the Executive Committee; Messrs. Israel Ben-Zvi and Abraham Goldstein, vice-presidents; Feivel Ryba, treasurer; Leib Rychtman, secretary; Sarah Walach, Rachel Wercheiser, Rachel Schefer, Isaac Austrian, Daniel Brieftreger, Zev Davidson, Mordechai Gottlieb, Joseph Levin, Moshe Reichnadel, Abraham Storch, members of the Executive Committee; Zvi Katz, honorary member.
In his address, Mr. Rothenberg pointed out the wide scope of Yirgun activities and submitted an outline of the tasks lying ahead. He called on all Radomers, both in Israel and abroad, to participate in their new project: the erection of a Radom House in Tel Aviv, which would serve as a spiritual and social center for residents and tourists alike.
by Samuel Benet
Though people from Radom had been living in Australia for some time before World War II, their organized activities began only in 1946, after news from survivors of the Nazi camps reached the Australian continent. On the initiative of Mrs. Feiga R. Bennet and others, a Rescue Committee was organized in Melbourne with Mr. Glatt as chairman, Ch. Tenenbaum as co-chairman, Holtzkener treasurer, S. Bennet Secretary. The major tasks of the Committee were the shipment of food parcels to survivors in Radom and an effort to get a sizeable number of immigration permits for those desiring to join relatives and friends in Australia.
Many men and women from displaced persons camps in Germany arrived in Melbourne and established a new family life there. To help the new immigrants overcome their initial difficulties, the Committee bought a house at 208 Williams Road. When the facilities proved inadequate in view of a steady influx of Radomers, the Committee acquired another house at 50 Williams Road. This purchase was made possible by personal guarantees offered by the Committee members, especially Mr. Ch. Tenenbaum.
Mrs. Bennet was influential in the transfer of a Torah scroll from Israel, which had been miraculously saved and brought from Radom. The scroll was presented to the Caulfield School at an impressive ceremony attended by leading personalities of the Jewish community in Melbourne.
|Samuel Bennet||Mrs. Feiga R. Bennet||Chaim Tenenbaum|
|The Committee of the Radomer Center in Melbourne|
The Radomer Center in Melbourne is now a major factor in the life of the Jewish community; it participates in many local and national drives and is well-represented in the Jewish organizations of Melbourne. It was among the first to join in the campaign for the United Israel fund, thus setting an example for other organizations. In addition to its fund-raising activities, the Center conducts cultural and social programs and, once a year, holds traditional memorial services for the martyrs of Radom. In 1951, the Committee collected testimonies to be presented at the trial in Austria of the war criminal Konrad Buchmayer, the SS man responsible for the murder of numerous Jews in Radom.
Now the Center enthusiastically supports the plan to erect the Memorial Hall of Radom in Tel Aviv, as a monument to the Jewish community destroyed by the Nazis.
Officers of the Radomer Center are elected annually at a general meeting. The present administration is as follows: Chaim Tenenbaum, president; Motel Korman and Naftali Hendel, vice presidents; Roman Borenstein, treasurer; Samuel Bennet, secretary; Feiga Bennet, Israel Frenkel, M. Lichtenstein, Samuel Migdalek, Abraham Przedborski, Sol Tenenbaum and Mr. and Mrs. B. Zucker, Committee members.
by Ch. L. Huberman
It is now nearly forty years since the Society of Friends from Radom was established in Paris. The years 1923-1925 brought a wave of immigration from Radom; the new immigrants banded together for mutual assistance in their quest for quarters and jobs. Though the Radomers in Paris differed sharply in their political affiliations, they were able to enlist many members to work together within the non-partisan framework of the Society.
In 1938 the Society merged with the Patronate, an anti-fascist group of Radomers which had worked for years on behalf of political refugees from Radom and provided material and legal assistance to friends jailed in Radom. As a result of the merger, the Society had more than 200 members, led by Aaron Luxemburg. The organization broadened its activities, acquired cemetery grounds, and sponsored many social and cultural events. The organization also retained a physician, providing free medical care for its members.
World War II wreaked havoc with the ranks of the Radomers in France. Many active members of the Society enlisted in the French Armed Forces and were killed in action. During the Nazi occupation of France numerous Radomer families were deported and never returned. Among them were the following leading members of the organization: Jacob Milman, Shalom Shlamowitz, Smutek, Joel Schneider, Spielfogel, Israel Weintraub, Abraham Zeigman.
After the catastrophe of World War II the survivors returned to Paris, only to find a decimated Jewish community, with their apartments and businesses destroyed or ransacked. The Society then renewed its activities by helping the orphans and widows or Radomers who lost their lives during the war. The organization undertook a concerted effort, mostly through the courts, in order to regain the apartments and shops confiscated during the Nazi occupation.
As life began to normalize, a permanent committee was elected at a general meeting, with Simon Fishman as president. The organization then faced a new challenge the immigration f survivors of the Nazi death-camps. In view of their rising needs, Mr. Fishman went to New York to seek financial assistance from Radomer organizations for their needy brethren in Paris. Mr. Fishman was warmly received by the United Radomer relief in the United States of America and Canada and given generous aid.
During the past decade, the Friends from Radom organization grew in strength and resources and was able to extend considerable aid to Radomers living in Israel. In addition, it supported all national drives in behalf of Israel. The Radomers contributed to the purchase of two airplanes and a tank for the Israeli army.
Traditional Yizkor meetings are held every year in memory of the destroyed Jewish community of Radom. A monument of black marble, honoring Radom's war victims, was erected on the society's burial grounds. Among others there are also inscribed the names of the Society's heroes: Jacob Handelsman, who died a martyr's death after blowing up the crematorium of Auschwitz; and Moshe Neiman and Chaim Zucker, who gave their lives in the defense of democracy in Spain.
In addition, the Society supported Jewish cultural activities in Paris, including the Jewish theater and press. It aided in the publication of Yiddish books, authored by Radomers Alfred grant and S. Gutman.
Radomer Mutual Benefit Society in Toronto
Chartered in 1925, the Radomer Mutual Benefit Society occupied a leading position in the Jewish community of Toronto for several decades. It was founded by a group of Radomers, which included several of today's active leaders of the organization: Abe Glass, Moshe Glass and Isidore Green, and the late S. Rosenberg and I. Goldstein. During the 1929 depression, the Society founded the Relief Fund which conducted a successful campaign for the needy Jews in Toronto.
As the activities of the organization branched out, it acquired, in 1932, a building on Beverly Street, which was also to house its Cooperative Credit Association. The latter prides itself in years of continuous service to the community by providing assistance and loans and various medical benefits.
The Mutual Benefit Society has a proud record of accomplishments in the fields of education and welfare. It gave considerable support to the city's Jewish educational institutions, among them the Talmud Torahs and Workmen's Circle schools; it also aided several welfare institutions and the Jewish National Fund as well as Youth Aliyah and convalescence homes for workers.
During the war it actively campaigned and contributed to the Canadian Red Cross and numerous war relief funds.
The Society initiated the Union of Polish Jews in Canada and actively participated in the projects of the United Radomer Relief for the United States of America and Canada. In all its worthy endeavors, the Society was enthusiastically helped by its Young men's Branch, headed by J. Goodman, the Ladies Auxiliary (Mrs. Esther Ropenberg, chairman) and the Young Women's Branch, led by Mrs. Hornfield.
The Radomer Mutual Benefit Society and its branches are proud of their recent achievement: the Beth Radom Synagogue, a magnificent edifice erected in Toronto in 1962.
The present officers of the organization are: Isidore Green, honorary president; William Brown, president; Harry Liberbaum, vice-president; Pesach Hoffman, secretary-treasurer; M. Greenspan, recording secretary.
B'nai Radom and Vicinity in Toronto
Organized in 1950, this organization has an active membership of Radomers who settled in Toronto after World War II. The last generation to be born in Radom, they carry on the traditions of social and community work.
The organization had grown in the succeeding years, both in strength and prestige. Affiliated with the Untied Radomer Relief for the United States of America and Canada, it conducts successful fund-raising campaigns for the benefit of needy Radomers in Israel and gives full support to the Voice of Radom publication.
One of the major accomplishments of the B'nai Radom organization was the erection of a monument in Toronto, honoring the thirty thousand martyrs of Radom and vicinity. An impressive unveiling ceremony was held on September 2, 1962, and was attended by the entire Radomer community in Toronto, with guests and delegates from many organizations in the United States and Canada.
The B'nai Radom cooperated in the building of the Beth Radom Synagogue, which was planned and completed by the Radomer Mutual Benefit Society in Toronto.
The present administration of the B'nai Radom and Vicinity is as follows: Sam Boyman, president; Harry Goldman, vice-president; Henry Rosenbaum, financial secretary; Chaim Korman, recording secretary; A. Zucker, treasurer; B. Adler and R. Birenbaum, trustees; member of the executive board are : Messrs. S. Gutstat, J. Weingart, Z. Togman, S. Katzman, J. Kirschenblat, N. Anschein, S. Rosenbaum, A. Glass, and J. Eisenberg.
We wish to pay tribute to our former devoted president, Leib Levi, who died after a tragic accident while serving his fellow Radomers.
Radomer Mutual Aid Society
The Society was organized in 1941 by a group of Radomer in Montreal, headed by Jacob Hartman, who guided the organization until his death on April 25, 1958.
Hartman was one of the most respected and
dedicated social workers of the Jewish community in Montreal. In spite of his advanced age and failing health, he was extremely active in rescue work on behalf of the concentration camp survivors.
The Society was also fortunate in having among its leaders many of the new immigrants who arrived in Montreal after the war. Outstanding among them was Samuel Eidelbaum, formerly active in the community life of Radom, who came to Montreal after years in the Nazi ghettos and camps. His premature passing was mourned as a great loss to the Radomers of Canada.
For years the Mutual Aid Society was affiliated with the Jewish World Congress and federation of Polish Jews. In this capacity it participated in many national and local fund drives and welfare activities. Thus, for example, the Society had sent $1300 with Sam Lipshitz when he visited Poland on his relief mission after World War II; it donated $1500 for Radomers interned in Cyprus, awaiting immigration to Palestine. We have contributed $500 for Jewish war orphans in France and another $500 to the Dr. Sommerstein campaign. We are giving generous support to the Association of Radomers in Israel and the United Radomer relief of the U.S.A. and Canada. In addition, we have organized our own interest-free loan fund for the benefit of our members.
The present Society administration is as follows: Godel Zeidman, president; Pesach Gisser, vice-president; Jacob Gutman, Henry Firstenberg and Yechiel Popper, secretaries.
On May 2, 1962, the Society in Montreal suffered a great loss with the death of its long-time active worker and president, Nachman Luzer Werk.
The Ladies' Auxiliary of the Radomer Mutual Aid Society has done excellent social and welfare work both independently and in collaboration with its parent organization. The group is now headed by Mrs. Luba Werk, chairman, and Mrs. Leah Puttershnit, co-chairman. Bronia Fogel and Goldie Kossovoy are secretaries, Rebecca Garfinkel is treasurer, Regina Firstenberg and Eva Pomerantz serve as trustees.
In New York:
Radomer Independent Aid Society
This organization has the distinction of being the first Radomer association to be organized on the American continent. It comprised the immigrants who arrived in the United States during the last decade of the nineteenth century, and was born out of their desire to stay together with friends of a common background, amidst the strange surroundings of a new land. Faced with the daily problems of earning a living, the young men and women found a sense of security in banding together into an organization with a club-like atmosphere, where they could continue their customs and traditions and satisfy their cultural needs.
The Independent Aid Society affiliated itself with the Hayim Salomon Home, which organized cultural and educational projects. As the Society progressed and its members became more prosperous, it joined the Federation of Polish Jews for a more effective relief effort on behalf of their kinsmen.
During World War I, the Radomer Independent Aid Society initiated the United Radomer relief in New York, whose purpose was to pool the resources of all existing Radomer fraternal organizations for the purpose of aiding the Jewish community in Radom. The Society was instrumental in organizing and remitting substantial help to Radom. The leaders of the Society frequently served as presidents of the Relief organization.
Members of the Independent Aid Society have become prominent in the field of industry and the professions in New York. Tribute is paid here to a few of the Society's deceased leaders, who gave years of dedicated service to the organization: Joe Korman, Henoch Pomerantz, Morris Radomski, and Joe Shotland.
Mr. J. Birenbaum is the current president of the Independent Aid Society; Mrs. Sadie Spitzberg is the president of the Radomer Ladies Independent Aid Society.
First Radomer Congregation
Every wave of immigration brought a number of Radomers to these shores, determined to begin a new life in the Land of Plenty. Each group established its own fraternal organization, to cope with the economic, cultural and religious needs of the immigrants. In the absence of state-organized economic and health security for the individual, these societies concerned themselves with burial grounds, insurance, health and unemployment benefits, as well as houses of worship and theatrical performances for the enrichment of their members.
The First Radomer Congregation was established in 1902. Several years later, after being granted a charter, the group acquired a building on the Lower East Side and opened a synagogue.
The Congregation helped to organize the United Radomer Relief. Sam Grossfeld, president of the Congregation, served for some time as head of the Relief organization; Charles Steinberg was its secretary.
After World War II, the Congregation gave considerable assistance to the camp survivors in the U.S.A. as well as those in Europe and Israel.
Sam Cohn is now president of the First Radomer Congregation; Israel Sommer is vice-president; Charles Steinberg and Dora Haberman, secretaries; Meyer Kirschenblatt, treasurer; A. Milman is in charge of sick benefits.
Radomer Culture Center
A group of young men, mostly post-World War I immigrants, established, in 1927, the Radomer Culture Center, which was to fill a gap in the existing facilities for young people in New York. This new organization, opened with the approval of the other Radomer Societies, undertook to provide educational programs, as well as entertainment, for the Radomers in New York. The organization was founded by Joseph Berkowitz, Isaac Bleiweiss, Jack Diamond, Isaac Lenga, Kalman Seifman and Charles Steinberg.
In addition to its cultural and social activities, the Center maintained all the essential benefits and services of a fraternal organization. In the ensuing years, the Radomer Culture Center rose to a prominent place among the Jewish welfare and fraternal organizations in New York. It maintains contact with many major Jewish institutions, such as the Jewish World Congress, AJDC, and Histadrut, and supports the Jewish national drives, such as the UJA and State of Israel Bonds. The Center holds an award for raising more than $25,000 for the Bond Drive among its members.
For many years the Center was the sole supporter of the United Radomer Relief and was responsible for the conduct of its activities. Now it still supplies the major share of contributions toward the maintenance of the varied Relief activities, which includes the Voice of Radom publication, aid to Israel and the Memorial Book.
When the survivors of the Nazi camps arrived in New York, the Culture Center extended a helping hand and offered full rights and family benefits to all those willing to enroll as members.
The Center meetings, held twice a month, are lively and colorful; Jewish holidays and festivals are made more meaningful by appropriate programs; joyous events in the life of the Center members are shared and celebrated by all.
The 1963 administration is as follows: Herman Mandelman, president; Victor Hochman, ex-president; Moshe Weitzland, vice-president; Isaac Schneider, financial secretary; Willy Mandelman, recording secretary; P. Goldhammer, treasurer; Isaac Langer, cemetery committee chairman; J. Berkowitz, J. Diamond and I. Kirsch, trustees.
Begun only in 1956, the Ladies' Auxiliary at the Radomer Culture center prides itself in having made an enormous contribution to the welfare of the Center. The well-planned social functions enhance every meeting. The Center's 30th Anniversary Gala Celebration in New York was a highly successful event thanks to the ladies' efforts. The Auxiliary officers are: Mae Mandelman, president; Frieda Bleiwass, vice-president; Mania Goldman, financial secretary; Sarah Greenberg, recording secretary; Rose Rudman, treasurer.
The Ladies' Auxiliary mourns the loss of its dedicated officer and long-time member of the Center, Mrs. Goldie Hochman, in 1962.
The Radomer Mutual Society in New York
The Radomer Mutual Society is the newest addition to the roster of Radomer organizations in New York, some of whom have been in existence for over 50 years. The Mutual Society was established in 1955 by new immigrants, survivors of Nazi camps, who arrived in the United States in large groups after World War II. They wished to continue in their newly adopted country their associations and friendships forged in pain and suffering.
The existing organizations helped many newcomers in their first attempts to settle here by giving them assistance and advice. They also invited the new immigrants to join the ranks of their organizations; many former leaders of the Radom community became active in the New York organizations. The great majority of the newcomers, however, was too preoccupied with adjusting to a new life and was not ready to join any societies. This lack of interest prevailed for several years until the arrival in New York of Mr. Chanina Margolis, a prominent member of the Radomer organization in Tel Aviv.
During his visit, a group of newcomers held a conference and resolved to begin a campaign for an organization which would serve both as a social club and a fund-raising institution or the benefit of needy friends and Radomers in Israel and elsewhere. It was also decided that the organization to be established would have as its major goal the perpetuation of the memory of the Jewish community of Radom and its 30,000 martyrs by the erection of a fitting monument.
The founding meeting of about forty Radomers was held on May 5, 1955, in a hall provided by Lipa Rubman. A temporary committee was then elected which consisted of the following: Luzer Hochenbaum, president; Alfred Lipson, vice-president; Jack Zaidman, treasurer; Henry Korman, financial secretary; Leon Racimora, recording secretary. Messrs. Lipa Rubman, Meyer Pasternack, Meyer Tanzman, Raymond Schair, Benjamin Ellis, Sol Weisberg, Leo Birenbaum, and Arthur Mosoff were elected to the Executive Board.
The society has since suffered the loss of the latter two founders of the organization. Leo Birenbaum and Arthur Mosoff worked untiringly for the benefit of our members until their last days.
The plan for an organization of Radomers met with enthusiastic support among the hundreds of newcomers living in the metropolitan area of New York. The organization secured a charter from the New York State government under the name of Radomer Mutual Society, Inc. On October 29, 1955, an official celebration was held, attended by more than 500 Radomers. During the joyous reunion, many found long lost friends, a large number of whom believed each other dead.
The officers worked out a program for monthly meetings of the organization, whose membership reached 250 families. Committees were appointed to take charge of cultural and social activities and holiday celebrations. Cemetery grounds were purchased at the New Montefiore Cemetery in Long Island. A commission was delegated to represent the new society at the United Radomer Relief, to whom we pledged cooperation and support. Bulletins were printed to inform the members of the organization's activities. The success of the Bulletin was so overwhelming that it was decided to turn it into a monthly newspaper called the Voice of Radom. It served all Radomer organizations and became a tremendous success. Both the Bulletin and the Voice of Radom were initiated and edited by Alfred Lipson.
The society printed a constitution which specifies its principles and the democratic rules governing the election of officers, and distributed it to its members. Accordingly, elections are held annually and the presidency may be held for a maximum of two consecutive terms by any one person.
Alfred Lipson served as president during the 1956-1957 term; Lipa Rubman for 1957-1960; Raymond Schair, 1960-1961; Max Mora serves the term of 1961-1963. The present administration is as follows: President, Max Mora; vice-presidents, George Abramowitz and Henry Berger; financial secretaries, Jack Werber and Stanley Krakowski; treasurer, Meyer Rutman; recording secretary, Israel Glatt; corresponding secretary, Leon Altmann. The Executive Board consists of Mania Goldman, Leo Hochenbaum, Abe Konskier, Barry Mandel, Max Rosenbaum, Harry Rutman, Israel Speisman, Harry Vogelman and Jack Zaidman.
The Radomer Mutual Society grew to great proportions in the past years, both in number and stature. Its affairs are held in conjunction with Jewish traditional holidays and memorial observances as well as joyous celebrations of its members and are always well attended. Chanukah celebrations are devoted to the children; they are usually the hosts to their parents, whom they entertain with an appropriate program or talent show and, in return, receive gifts. Suitable programs are arranged on the anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising as well as on Israel's Independence Day. The society has introduced its own tradition of a gala celebration on New Year's Eve and a Liberation Ball held in May to mark the date when we
regained our freedom after years of Nazi slavery.
The society actively participates in all endeavors undertaken by the United Radomer Relief; it has raised funds for the Book of Radom and heartily supports the Voice of Radom. The society also frequently conducts vigorous Israel Bond drives and other fund-raising affairs on behalf of the State of Israel.
One of our major achievements was the erection of the long-anticipated monument to honor the 30,000 Jewish men, women and children of Radom who died as martyrs during World War II. Located on the cemetery grounds owned by the Radomer Mutual Society in Pinelawn, Long Island, it was unveiled on September 17, 1961. The names of more than 2,000 victims of Nazi persecution are engraved on its marble sides, as inscribed by their surviving relatives and friends, who thus helped cover the cost of the monument.
An enormous amount of effort and time went into the planning and completion of the monument project. Credit is due the entire Monument Committee, but most of all its chairman, Philip Weisbord, who conceived the idea and unselfishly devoted all is energy to its realization.
Workmen's Circle, Branch 369
Many immigrants from Radom have joined the Workmen's Circle in New York and made a major contribution to the growth of this great American institution. In 1911, because of their growing numbers, the Radomers organized Branch 369; Mr. Samuel Grossfeld was its first elected chairman.
The Workmen's Circle branches now look back to over half a century of service to the Jewish people. During that period the Workmen's Circle made tremendous strides in the field of medical care and social services. One of its greatest accomplishments is a network of hundreds of Workmen's Circle schools in the United States.
The Radomer Relief Club of Greater Miami
Many Radomers who were formerly active in various Jewish fraternal and welfare organizations in New York and elsewhere have chosen to live in the Sunshine State of Florida. In 1956 they founded the Relief Club which as the name indicates, was intended to serve both as a social club and a fund-raising organization for relief purposes. The Club has accomplished a great deal in both its fields of endeavor.
Its meetings, held on the occasion of Jewish festivals or to commemorate the destruction of the Jewish community in Radom, are always well attended. As a result, the Miami Club continually supports the activities of the United Radomer Relief of U.S.A. and Canada with thousands of dollars; this includes generous donations to maintain the Voice of Radom and to publish the Book of Radom.
Among the founders of the club were: Jack Diamond, now the honorary president and its guiding spirit, and Moshe Weitzman, now a member of the executive board.
The present officers are: J. Diamond, honorary president; J. Goldberg, president; J. Saifman, vice-president; Shirley Shiffman, financial secretary; M. Steloff, treasurer; Anna Sir, corresponding secretary; M. Golembiowsky, editor.
The Radomer survivors who came to Detroit after their liberation, inspired by the example of their relatives and friends in other American cities as well as in Israel and Canada, decided to form a local group for fraternal and welfare purposes and for the support of Israel.
The leaders in this effort were Oscar Goldberg and Mrs. Helen (London) Bowman. The first informal get-together was held at the Goldberg residence with about 40 Radomer men and women in January of 1960. The second meeting was held in the home of Mr. and Mrs. Jack Waksberg and for several months thereafter the meetings continued to be held in the homes of various members.
As the initial phase of organization progressed and a small treasury was established, the new group decided to obtain a regular public meeting place. Beginning in May, 1960, the society began its formal activity in the Detroit Labor Zionist Institute Building.
The first officers elected were: Oscar Goldberg, president; Helen Bowman and Jack Waksberg, vice presidents; Mrs. Joe Manela, secretary and Mrs. Rela Wizenberg, treasurer. Three trustees were also chosen in the persons of Marvin Kozlowski, Louis E. Levitan and Henry Starkman. Gabriel Eisman, the senior surviving Radomer in Detroit, known affectionately as Uncle Gabriel, was unanimously elected honorary president of the society.
During the first year of the society's existence, a number of cultural programs were held, support of The Voice of Radom was begun and contact with other Radomer groups was established. The climax of the 1960 activity was a gala Chanukah Night celebration which provided funds for future welfare activities.
In January, 1961, the Detroit group sponsored its first Yizkor commemorating the 18th Yahrzeit of the destruction of the Radomer Ghetto. An appropriate and impressive ceremony, in which the memorial message was delivered by Rabbi Milton Arm and the El Mole Rachamim was chanted by Cantor Simon Bermanis, both of Congregation Ahavas Achim, also included memorial readings depicting the Old Days of the beloved Radomer community by Gabriel Eisman and Joshua Freidenreich Joyrich. The group demonstrated their deep understanding of the meaning of the Yizkor evening by responding to the appeal of Louis E. Levitan and pledging to plant 1,000 trees in a commemorative grove within The Forest of the Martyrs on the sacred soil of Israel.
In the following months the Radomer Society also pledged its support to the Warsaw Ghetto Fighters Memorial in Israel and sent funds to The Voice of Radom and to the United Radomer Relief in New York City. Another cause which received a contribution was the Hayim Greenberg Hebrew-Yiddish School in Detroit.
The second election was held in April, 1961, and Oscar Goldberg was re-elected as president. Vice presidents were Louis E. Levitan and Jack Waks-
berg; secretary, Manya Tenenbaum, Salinger, and treasurer, Rela Tenenbaum Wizenberg. A new officer, indicating the emphasis placed on this work by the organization, was added in the form of an Israel chairman, namely Helen (London) Bowman. The three new trustees elected were: Norbert Goldberg, Edith (London) Kozlowski and Joe Manela. Mrs. Joe Manela was designated as permanent correspondent of The Voice of Radom.
The next and most ambitious project undertaken by the Detroit group was the first annual Mother's Day Installation Dinner-Dance. The highlight of the glamorous and exciting event was the presence of five honored guests from the Toronto Radomer Society. They included Mr. Abe Glass, Mr. N. Anshein, Mr. J. Cohn, Mr. S. Rosenbaum and Mr. B. Hoffmahn. The MC was Louis E. Levitan and the distinguished guests acted as installing officers. Mr. Levitan, Director of the Detroit Israel Bond Office, was presented with a gift because of his devotion to the society, although he is only an adopted member. First because he is married to a Radomer, Rywka Litwak, and second, because, as UNNRA director of the Displaced Persons Camp in Stuttgart, Germany, he greeted and aided the majority of the Radomer survivors.
In September, 1961, upon their return from Israel where the Levitans attended the International Israel Bond Conference, they gave a report on their impressions of Israel and, in particular, on their special meeting with the Irgun Yotzei Radom in Tel Aviv during which they brought news and greetings from relatives and friends in Israel.
The second annual Chanukah Night, held in December, 1961, featured a special surprise guest the foremost Jewish-American comedian, Emil Cohen, who delighted and entertained the members with his wholesome Yiddish humor.
In January, 1962, the society sponsored their second annual Yizkor service at which Lt. Col. Herbert Eskin, who was the first chaplain to greet and help the Radomer survivors in Stuttgart, Germany, delivered a very moving memorial message. Cantor Bermanis again honored the group with a Chapter of the Psalms and the Yizkor prayer for the dead.
The Radomer Mutual Society of Detroit is now well established in the community and looks forward to a secure future. A special project which the group is considering at present is the erection of a Radom monument in Detroit, to perpetuate the memory of those who perished in the Great Holocaust. It is devoting itself to aiding fellow Radomers through the United Radomer Relief, to the upbuilding of Israel, through the Israel Bond Drive and the Jewish National Fund, and to the welfare of the Detroit Jewish community. The society as of today has 55 members, who pride themselves on the warm fraternal atmosphere of the club. The members have prospered and are happy Americans.
One of the newest additions to the family of Radomer fraternal organizations on the American continent, it was founded in 1957 during a gathering of about 100 persons in the home of Solomon Friedman in Los Angeles.
The group ratified a constitution, which specifies the aims of the organization: to preserve the traditions of the hometown of Radom and to commemorate its 30,000 victims of Nazi persecution; to give material support to the State of Israel, with special emphasis on Radomers living there.
Thanks to the full cooperation of its members, the Club has been successful in achieving its goals.
The following gentlemen have served as Club presidents: Solomon Friedman, from 1957 to 1958; Mordechai Cohen, 1958-1959; Edward Spicer, 1959-1961. The present officers are: Nathan Spiro, president; Mrs. Sylvia Gutman, vice-president; Charles Hanover, recording secretary; Harry Langer, treasurer; Mrs. Bella Friedman, financial secretary. Herman Borenkraut and Mrs. Ann Spicer are chairmen of the Ways and Means Committee; Mmes. Thema Cukier and Rose Baumgold are chairmen of the Ladies' Auxiliary.
|Committee of the 'New Radomer Club' in Los Angeles|
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Between Two World Wars
by Alfred Lipson
The Radomer Relief organization was born out of the purest human quality compassion. It was one of the bleakest eras in human history, a time of horror, a period of mass killings, premeditated and skillfully planned by the General Staffs of civilized nations. It was 1917 and Europe had been bleeding on the battlefields for over three years. Cries for help were heard coming in over the Atlantic and some were very familiar voices, those of close relatives and dear friends, caught in the misery of war.
What could the fortunate Radomers on this side of the Atlantic do for their brethren in Poland? They could not stop the war; they could not even send letters. All they could do was pray and hope: hope that someday the shooting will end and peace will rule over the lands. The Radomers in New York were getting ready for that moment.
During the anxious days of 1917 a group of friends got together and decided to organize help and be ready to relieve the sufferings of their unfortunate fellow Radomers, when they would leave the ravages of war.
Of course, there were in New York alone several Radomer societies. The projected Radomer Relief, however, was to have, as the name implies, only one purpose coordinated help. Unlike the societies, which had the character of social clubs, rather for the benefit of its members on a narrow local scope, the Relief organization set up as its program the pooling of resources for the benefit of the needy in the wartorn hometown.
The Founding Fathers
The initiative came from the Radomer Independent Aid Society, which organized a conference of the leaders of all Radomer organizations in New York. Among the participants were: Messrs. Joseph Birenbaum, Jack Diamond, Sam Grossfeld, Harry Katz, Nathan Kestenberg, Joseph Korman, Konski, H. Pomerantz, M. Radomsky, Mrs. S. Spitzberg and others. They all had one thing in common: a desire to alleviate the misery of the Jews in Radom. Everyone agreed that only by combining the efforts of all Radomer groups would their purpose be accomplished. They decided to establish the Radomer Relief.
The devoted group of young people went to work to organize a mass meeting of all Radomer immigrants in New York. A theater hall was booked for this purpose ad was filled to capacity. Harry Katz made a dramatic appeal for funds and got a heartwarming response. About $2,000 was collected quite an impressive sum in those days. The money was sent to Radom and arrived just in time for the winter to save numerous Jewish men, women and children from cold and starvation. The people in Radom rejoiced. Decimated by war and epidemics, they had lost hope and stamina. Help from New York meant the difference between starvation and survival. It also meant a lot more to them. Here is an excerpt from a letter of appreciation written by the Trade Union in Radom and signed by its president, Moshe Rubinstein, and its secretary, M. Feinkind:
Assistance from our brothers beyond the ocean is not just the means to feed the hungry and heal the sick. Right now it means hope for the desperate and a light for a people facing a dark abyss.
For us it means that there is someone beyond the seas who cares, who knows our sufferings and stands ready to help in this hour of despair.
Well, the hour proved to last for quite some time. Although Radom grew in the ensuing years into a prosperous industrial city, there always remained some slums, poverty and disease. Appeals for assistance kept coming from Radom to New York and the Radomer Relief continued its efforts on behalf of the needy in Radom. The Relief made it a tradition to supply the poor in Radom with matzos for every Passover. A committee was established in Radom to distribute the donations in time for the holidays. In most instances the committeemen carried the gifts to the homes of the poor, especially to those who shunned charity.
Messengers of Hope
In 1922, Morris Radomsky, one of the most devoted Relief leaders, went for a visit to Radom. He saw all the Jewish communal institutions at work and was impressed with the wide scope of their activities. But they all needed immediate assistance. There was the Orphanage, housing 300 children; the Jewish Hospital, desperately in need of funds; the Home for the Aged; the Talmud Torah and numerous other welfare institutions. During that
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visit Morris Radomsky distribute several thousand dollars given to him for this purpose by the Relief.
In 1936, another prominent and untiring Relief officer, Jack Diamond, and his wife Sadie, visited Radom. During their stay Jack helped establish in Radom a Gemilath Chesed Fund (nonprofit loan association) and contributed to it his own $500 in addition to the contribution from the Relief treasury. Two years later, in 1938, Moshe Fuchs, secretary of the loan fund, reported in a letter that 1500 families had availed themselves of this service and received interest free loans.
During their visit the Diamonds made, at their own expense, a motion picture depicting life in Radom with special emphasis on the institutions being supported by the Relief. Little did they know at the time that this was their last glimpse of the great city before the onslaught of the German barbarians, and that the film will be the only remaining proof of a Jewish Radom. It is, however, a matter of record that Jack Diamond had a vision of the approaching catastrophe and had warned the Jewish community leaders accordingly, urging them to leave Poland en masse.
The Diamond film was later shown at meetings of Radomer organizations in the United States and Canada and was instrumental in increased fund collections. Jack Diamond later donated this film to the Yirgun Yotzei Radom in Tel Aviv.
…for U.S. & Canada, Inc.
Up to this time the relief work was largely conducted by a small group of unselfishly devoted people under the guidance of Harry Katz. They lacked both the official recognition required and the complete cooperation of all the Radomer organizations. In 1935 the Relief was reorganized to include delegates from virtually all Radomer groups. A letterhead from that period indicates the following participating organizations:
Independent Radomer Aid Society
First Radomer Congregation
Independent Rad. Ladies Aid Society
Radomer Culture Center, Inc.
Radomer Branch 369, Workmen's Circle
Radomer Branch 22, International W.O.
The name was then changed to United Radomer Relief and officers were elected. J. Shotland was the first officially elected president.
In 1937, the Relief had expanded further through the joining of the Radomer societies in Baltimore, Montreal and Toronto. It was then that a charter was secured from the New York State government, under the name of United Radomer Relief for U.S. and Canada, Inc.
In this connection credit is due the Radomer Culture Center in New York, and specifically to its longtime president, Charles Steinberg, who worked tirelessly to keep the Relief going. We can say without hesitation that at times it was the Radomer Culture Center that carried almost the complete burden of relief work and administration. A few individuals, such as Morris Radomsky, Sam Grossfeld and Jack Diamond, never ceased in their dedication to the cause.
Setup in Radom
For better coordination, a 15member committee had been set up in Radom, representing the community as a whole, including Radom's prominent citizens: E. Tenenbaum, P. Weisbord, I. Zeigman, S. Eidelbaum, M. Rosenbaum, M. Rychtman, Bialski, Hertz and others. The records indicate that they did a wonderful job in their unselfish efforts to distribute the relief funds justly and without discrimination.
XRay Unit Donated
In 1938, at the threshold of World War II, Morris Radomsky made another of his numerous trips to Radom. Before his departure a mass meeting took place at the Broadway Central in New York. Several thousand dollars were collected and entrusted to Radomsky for distribution in Radom, with specific amounts earmarked for each institution.
Doctors Kleinberger and Finkelstein of the Jewish Hospital in Radom pleaded with Radomsky for an XRay unit which they urgently needed and could not obtain in Poland.
Upon his return to New York, Radomsky went to work on the project and, with the assistance of Charles Steinberg, Sam Grossfeld and Jack Goldfleiss, collected about $2,000 ($500 was contributed by the Baltimore, Maryland Chapter), and the machine was purchased.
According to available correspondence it was the happiest day for the hospital personnel when the machine arrived in Radom. Dr. Kellerwurm donated the cost of installation.
The minutes of the Relief meetings have been a continuous record of hard work on the part of the officers to collect funds. Committees were assigned to knock at the doors of our kinsmen. Many theatre and dinner parties were organized to augment the Relief treasury. Raffle books were sold; fund raisers sent to other cities. All this entailed considerable personal sacrifices on the part of the officers and their families.
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The first chapter of the Relief story would not be complete without giving due credit to all those who at one time or another have contributed their time, talents and money, loyally serving the Relief cause:
Joe Birenbaum, 19171923
Harry Katz, 19231934
Joe Shotland, 19351936
Sam Grossfeld, 19361938
Sam Potashnik, 19381943
Isaac Tenenbaum, 19431948
Mrs. Sadie Spitzberg
Mrs. G. Wanger
History Repeats Itself
As World War II broke out and unbelievable news started to come in about the annihilation of entire Jewish communities in Poland by Nazi murderers, the Radomers in the United States and Canada could not bear to complacently watch the greatest crime ever committed. They worked hand in hand with other Jewish agencies here in an effort to awaken the hearts and conscience of the world and have the U.S. government intervene and prevent the mass slaughter of the Jewish people.
Again, all the United Radomer relief could do was to pray and hope that many of their fellow Radomers would miraculously be saved. A great campaign was conducted in order to be ready with help for the survivors, especially those who would reach these shores.
Cataclysm and Reconstruction
After the Second World War
By Sam Lipshitz
The cataclysmic blow that Hitlerism dealt our Jewish people was revealed in its full and stark horror only after the Second World War ended in May, 1945. Even in the course of the war, macabre tales of mass slaughter of European Jewry by Nazi murderers became known to the world, and particularly to American Jewry. Neutral ambassadors in Nazioccupied Poland, representatives of the Red Cross, and a few who miraculously escaped, began to raise the curtain on the great mass slaughter perpetrated by the fascists in gas chambers and crematoria. But only later, when the beasts were defeated and the Allied armies gained access to enslavement and annihilation camps, was the picture revealed in its totality. Truth proved more horrible than the weirdest nightmares.
Six million Jews a third of all our people in the world were wiped off the face of the earth in the gas chambers and crematoria of Treblinka, Majdanek, Oswiecim, Dachau, Belzec, and hundreds of other camps throughout Hitleroccupied Europe. Only a handful of the physically broken, tortured, sick and ruined people escaped annihilation. Ninety percent of the survivors were shorn of their families parents, wives, children, brothers or sisters. Those who had miraculously survived had no homes to return to. Their homes had been either destroyed, or taken away by their hateful neighbors, who took everything that had belonged to the Jews, and Jewish property which the Germans discarded because they could not take it to Germany. For the spoils thrown to them by the Nazis, these neighbors paid by participating in pogroms, and in every manner of chicanery against the Jewish citizens. A new wave of pogroms and attacks came upon the Jews who survived and returned to their native towns and villages in Poland, Lithuania and the Ukraine. This filled the cup of sorrow of our brothers and sisters in Europe to overflowing.
The calamitous deluge did not avoid our hometown Radom. This culturally rich, creative, vibrant center of Jewish life and activity was destroyed with its roots. The Nazis slayed 30,000 Jews of Radom and the town around it. Few in Radom managed to escape death. The exceptions were the ones who worked in the munitions factory, or those who escaped into the woods and joined the partisan ranks. Some survived those fearful years, hidden by kind gentile people, or disguised as gentiles. But the conditions under which they were compelled to lead their existence defy description.
The years of the Second World War did not interrupt the activities of the United Radomer Relief. On the contrary, they have increased. Attempts were made to communicate with kinsmen wherever they could be found. Funds were being raised in the hope of being able to help our brothers rebuild their broken, wartorn lives if not during the war years then as soon as the war was over. Who could have believed at the outbreak of the war that the catastrophe would be so great, the annihilation so complete?
Shortly after the war, in September of 1945, a special national conference of the United Radomer Relief was called in Toronto. At this conference
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plans were laid for great relief projects in aid of Radomers whose lives were spared, whether they were in Poland, German camps, Israel, Cyprus or wherever the ravages of war had dragged them to.
At the same conference the United Radomer Relief endorsed as its representative our own landsman Sam Lipshitz, who had been nominated by 25 Jewish organizations and by the Canadian Jewish Congress to go together with the late H.M Caiserman (then general secretary of the Jewish Congress) as delegates to Poland, with the purpose of seeing firsthand the effects of the great tragedy that befell the Jews of Poland and to report back to the Radomer organizations and the whole Jewish community on the problems facing the victims, and the help they required.
Lipshitz and Caiserman spent 14 weeks in Poland and returned with news about Jewish men and women they met, also bringing with them personal messages to many relatives and friends in Canada and the United States. Lipshitz reported to large meetings arranged by the United Radomer Relief in Toronto, Montreal, and New York and met with Radomer groups all over Canada and the United States during a tour which followed his mission to Europe.
His mission helped our Relief to establish contact with the few Jews in Radom and other cities in Poland who had remained alive after the war. It also reunited many families who were able to resume correspondence interrupted by the war.
At that time, too, the United Radomer Relief was able to contact a large group of Radomers in Stuttgart, Germany, where they had been brought by the Germans as slave laborers, or were deported from other camps as the end of the war approached. Radomers in Stuttgart organized a committee that undertook important activity with the main purpose of normalizing the lives of our aggrieved kinsmen.
At the same time, the campaign conducted by the Jewish people the world over for the immediate establishment of our own homeland in Israel was gathering momentum. The terrible experience of the war hardened the resolve of Jews the world over to win the right to national existence in their own state. No manner of terror perpetrated by the British occupation forces in Palestine could stem the tide of Jewish immigration to Palestine, which rose in a swell of yearning to realize a twothousand year old dream. Among those who began the long but hopeful trek to Israel were hundreds of our own Radomer young men and women. Many of them joined the ranks of the Haganah and Palmach, and paid with their lives for the liberation of the Jewish state.
This is the background for the work of United Radomer Relief in the postwar years. With the war's end, American and Canadian restrictions on Jewish immigration from Europe were relaxed. Among the thousands that streamed into the United States and Canada were many Radomer and their families, and in their ranks one could find many wellknown community leaders from the old country, whom the American landsmen welcomed with open arms.
The postwar activity of the United Radomer Relief concentrated on several areas:
The very capable committee elected in 1947 that directed the activities of the United Radomer Relief after the war was made up of the following:
A. Tannenbaum, President; I. Kirsch, VicePresident; A. Mosoff, Recording Secretary; M. Korman, Assistant to Financial Secretary Vigoda; J. Diamond, C. Steinberg, M. Radomsky, L. Rubman, V. Hochman, J. Berkowitz, W. Mandelman, H. Mandelman, Molly Rubman, Sadie Spitzberg, Anna Rubin and others. There were also many active workers in the other cities, such as: S. Rosenbaum, N. Anshein, A. Glass, B. Hoffman, O. Ackerman, M. Hoffman and others in Toronto; J. Hartman, L. Werk, H. Popper in Montreal and many others in every center where Radomer landsmen lived and were organized.
The United Radomer Relief discussed the problem of aid to Radomers in different countries of the world at almost every meeting. Here is a report of a meeting which took place in May, 1947, when it was reported that:
At a subsequent meeting in June, 1947, a letter from Stuttgart was read, dealing with the deteriorating conditions there and with the plight of our Radomer landsmen. It was immediately decided to send $300 worth of food, and recommended to the forthcoming conference of United Radomer Relief to send an additional $1,000. At the same meeting a telegram from Israel was read, requesting aid for a number of our kinsmen, who were due to arrive there.
Still another report records further aid to Stuttgart to the amount of $500 and urgent aid to newly arrived landsmen in the U.S. who needed assistance in finding a place to live, furnishing it, and taking the first difficult steps in a new country. We learn of the need for parcels to landsmen in Cyprus who were in British camps. These are but a few examples of hundreds who had been helped by the United Radomer Relief.
All this had been done with sincere devotion, heartfelt concern for the needs of our brethren, in a dignified way, as befits our own Radomers.
As time went on, more and more landsmen were found in almost every corner of the world. The United Radomer Relief made contact with all of them. Specific aid to individuals did not prevent the Relief organization from supporting such worthy causes as the Histadruth, Haganah, raising funds to purchase a ship for Israel, and other projects.
In connection with efforts to reunite families, the case of the Birenbaum family and how the United Radomer Relief was instrumental in influencing the U.S. Senate to pass a special bill that enabled the family to be reunited is particularly enlightening.
In January, 1948, a certain Mrs. Birenbaum from Radom, telephoned President Tenenbaum and explained that she had been brought to the U.S. by a cousin, whose financial circumstances were not the best. Her husband was still in Sweden. Although a Yeshivah had sent out an affidavit for her husband offering to bring him as a student, the government denied him a permit on the grounds that his wife was already in America. It was possible that if her husband went to Cuba, he could be brought legally to the U.S. from there. The United Radomer Relief was anxious to help and it began to work on the case immediately.
A few months later, on July 12th, Mr. Birenbaum arrived in New York from Sweden on a tourist visa to Cuba. But he was detained by American immigration officials in Ellis Island and was to be sent back to Sweden on August 14th. But thanks to the intercession of President Tenenbaum, with influential people in Washington, the deportation proceedings were temporarily halted. Sometime later, due to the efforts of the United Radomer Relief and President Tenenbaum, a special bill was passed in the U.S. Senate allowing Birenbaum to enter the United States and the family was reunited. This was an achievement in which the U.R.R. took special pride. The Relief also helped to settle the Cigelman family from Camp Oswego the camp established by President Roosevelt for the temporary settlement of the first refugees from Hitlerism, who reached the shores of the U.S. by boat. The Wechsler family, one of the first war refugee families to arrive here without valid documents, was helped in a great measure to obtain legal residence in New York.
So many cases could be cited which, if taken one by one, may not appear to be of historic significance, but taken all together make a wonderful story of loyal, devoted and very gratifying work which the United Radomer Relief carried on in the postwar years.
The United Radomer Relief also participated in national community projects during those years, and conducted annual memorial meetings in honor of the heroes and martyrs of Radom. Such gatherings took place in every major city across the country where branches of the United Radomer Relief existed, like New York, Montreal, Toronto, Miami, Baltimore, Vineland, etc. Many social events were arranged, such as banquets, New Year's celebrations, gatherings of landsmen all with the purpose of helping Radomers get together and hold high the traditions and name of our beloved hometown Radom.
After the establishment of the State of Israel and the absorption of immigrants into the United States and Canada and after the liquidation of Stuttgart and other German camps, and the almost complete eradication of Jewish life in Radom, Poland, the feeling began to grow among some activists of the
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Relief, that the organization no longer served any purpose, since the need to give relief was quickly coming to an end, and it was time to think of giving up the United Radomer Relief.
Records of meetings that took place at the time reflect the heated debate that went on around this question. It is to the credit of the present leaders of the United Radomer Relief, that they steadfastly defended the position of maintaining and strengthening rather than giving up the organization. Their position won out, and life itself proved how correct they were. Instead of disbanding, the United Radomer relief expanded and set up new branches in Miami, Vineland, Detroit and Los Angeles.
On March 17, 1949, new national officers were elected. They were:
President: I. Kirsch;
VicePresident: J. Tenenbaum;
Financial Secretary: M. Kirshenblatt;
Recording Secretary: A. Mosoff and M. Korman;
Treasurer: C. Steinberg.
A number of leading members of the United Radomer Relief from across the country were elected either as vicepresidents or as members of the National Committee.
The new leadership set about strengthening their activities in every area. Here are some highlights from reports of Radomer Relief activities since that time:
With the consolidation of the State of Israel, the freeing and transfer of all Jews left in the camps of Europe, and the gradual adjustment of Radomers who came to America, many of whom became active in the work of relief, the United Radomer relief organization concentrated more and more on aid to Radomers in Israel. Following visits to the U.S. by the Radomer landsmen, Moshe Rotenberg and Chanina Margolis, intimate ties were established with the Radomer central organization in Israel, the Irgun Yotzei Radom B'Isroel. United Radomer Relief concentrated especially on aid to the Gmilat Chasodim Kasse (Free Loan) of the Irgun Yotzei Radom. This enabled the Free Loan Fund to expand its aid to Radomers through loans, and later by direct aid if it was impossible for a landsman to repay the loan.
Special aid to Israel did not prevent our organization from giving direct aid in the form of food parcels, medicines, etc., to landsmen wherever they were located and whenever they appealed to us.
The Radomers in the United States and Canada expressed approval of our work through financial contributions that kept coming in. Every event organized by the Radomer Relief and its affiliated organizations in other centers across the country whether it was a memorial evening, a Simchath Torah affair, a Purim party or a New Year's ball, helped to improve the financial resources of the Relief organization.
The wave of immigration to the United States and Canada brought many experienced community leaders from the old country, and an urgent need for organizations for the new immigrants. This led to the formation of new Radomer organizations in different cities, such as the Radomer Mutual Society in New York, which grew rapidly and began to play a leading role in the Radomer community life. The Radomer Mutual Society also made a significant contribution to the work of the United Radomer Relief.
In Toronto a new organization of immigrant Radomers was born the B'nai Radom and Vicinity.
As time went on new projects were undertaken which stimulated the growth and activity of the Radomer organizations.
Radomer Shtime (Voice of Radom)
One very important project was the founding of the Radomer Shtime (Voice of Radom). It began as a bulletin issued by the Radomer Mutual Society. In 1956, at the suggestion of Radomer Mutual delegates, the United Radomer Relief decided to take over the bulletin and issue a monthly paper. The editorship of the new paper was entrusted to our very capable landsman Alfred Lipson (Alter Lipshitz), who assumed his duties and began the work with great enthusiasm and devotion. The Radomer Shtime was published for two years under his editorship until July, 1958, and it became more popular among the landsmen with each issue.
Lipson's health, however, made it impossible for him to continue as editor and in September, 1958,
by decision of the United Radomer Relief, publication of the paper was moved to Toronto, Canada, under a committee of active landsmen with Sam Lipshitz, wellknown and experienced journalist, as editor. Since that time the paper has appeared regularly each month, in its new format, in 8, 10 and even 12 pages per issue. The recent Rosh Hashonoh edition was published in 48 pages. The circulation of the paper is growing. The Voice of Radom has proven to be the most effective tie between Radomers all over the world.
Another project for which United Radomer Relief worked a long time and was raising funds for, is the Memorial Book. Preparations for the project went through many stages since its inception in 1949 and were eventually begun in a very constructive way, in cooperation with the committee in Israel.
The fine work of our landsman J. Rotenberg who began to collect materials for the book at the very beginning of the project with the aid of other landsmen, deserves special mention here. We also note the contribution of President Isidore Kirsch, who, through constant prodding and encouragement, never slackened his efforts to ensure the success of the project.
Special recognition is due the Radomer Cultural Center in New York and the First Radomer Congregation, whose members paid a tax of $10 each towards the Memorial Book, to the Radomer Mutual Society in New York for its large contribution, and the Radomer organizations in Toronto, Montreal, Miami, Detroit and other cities, who have contributed so generously toward the realization of this invaluable project.
Monuments to the Nazi Victims
The United Radomer Relief gave moral support to the Radomer organizations in their projects of erecting monuments to the thirty thousand martyrs of the Radom community. The Radomer Mutual Society in New York erected on its cemetery grounds in Pinelawn, Long Island, an imposing structure, which was unveiled in September, 1961. Likewise, at the initiative of the B'nai Radom and Vicinity, a monument was erected in Toronto, Canada, on September 2, 1962, on the twentieth anniversary of the mass extermination of Radomer Jews by the Nazis.
Memorial monuments are now nearing completion in Montreal, Canada, and Detroit, Mich., sponsored by the respective local Radomer groups.
Diamond Credit Union in Israel
Another achievement which does honor to the United Radomer Relief is the recent founding of the Gmiloth Chasudim Kasse (Free Loan) in Israel, carrying the name f the Diamond family. The Fund is under the jurisdiction and management of the Irgun Yotzei Radom B'Isroel.
This new institution to aid Radomers came into being as a result of the very noble and generous deed by our beloved landsman and his wife, Jacob and Sadie Diamond. The Gmiloth Chasudim Fund will give loans to Radomer landsmen in need, without interest. The capital is provided by the contribution which the Diamonds made for this purpose: $25,000 to be paid out over a period of 22 years.
Jack Diamond is Honorary President of the United Radomer Relief. He was one of the founders of the organization in 1917. He is the founder of the Radomer Relief Club in Miami. He has been active for many years both in the Relief and the First Radomer Congregation. He is a founder of the Radomer Culture Centre in New York. His wife, Sadie, beloved and highly regarded by all, is also actively helping the Radomer Relief and its affiliated organizations.
Jack and Sadie Diamond's decision to contribute the sum of $25,000 is another proof of their generosity and concern for the welfare of their fellowmen, and has earned them the admiration and warm regards of all Radomers.
Under the Leadership of I. Kirsch
For 14 years Isidore Kirsch was president of the United Radomer Relief. Under his able leadership the Relief grew in scope and prestige and is now considered one of the most effective organizations of its kind. With his quiet diplomacy and gentle manner Isidore Kirsch succeeded in attracting many devoted men of different backgrounds to collaborate on behalf of the United Relief.
These were the most fruitful years in the history of the Relief organization. There are very few charitable organizations which can pride themselves in distributing their collected funds in full. Isidore Kirsch deserves much of the credit for keeping the expenses of the organization to a bare minimum. It can also be said that it is due to his tireless pursuits that this book can be published.
In September, 1962, the United Radomer Relief had its biennial convention, this time in Toronto, Canada. It was the most successful such meeting ever experienced by the delegates. With great regret they accepted the resignation of Isidore Kirsch, who felt that with due regard to his health he could not continue to carry the burden of the presidency. Mr. Henry Berger was then unanimously elected as his successor.
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Isidore Kirsch continues to work actively and wholeheartedly for the organization; he is now chairman of the committee for the Voice of Radom which, thanks to his perseverance, rose from a small bulletin to a monthly publication distributed among Radomers the world over.
Organization and Officers of the United Radomer Relief
The following organizations are affiliated with the United Radomer Relief for U.S.A. and Canada:
Radomer Independent Aid Society, New York
Radomer Ladies Independent Aid Society, New York
First Radomer Congregation, New York
Radomer Culture Center, New York, and its Ladies' Auxiliary
Radomer Mutual Society, New York
Radomer Mutual Aid Society, Montreal, Canada
B'nai Radom and Vicinity, Toronto, Canada
Radomer Mutual Benefit Society and Ladies' Auxiliary, Toronto, Canada
Radomer Relief Club of Greater Miami, Miami, Florida
Radomer Mutual Society, Detroit, Michigan
Radomer Centre of Melbourne, Australia
Jack Diamond, Honorary President; Henry Berger, President; Isidore Kirsch, VicePresident; Herman Mandelman, treasurer; Esther Mosoff, Financial Secretary; Israel Glatt, Recording Secretary; Leon Altmann, Corresponding Secretary.
New York Committee members: Joseph Berkowitz, Abraham Danziger, Max Friedland, Anna Goldberg, Victor Hochman, Alfred Lipson, William Mandelman, Barry Mandel, Max Mora, Max Rosenbaum, Meyer Rutman, Isaac Schneider, Philip Weisbord, Jacob Werber, Moshe Weitzland, Israel Zeigman.
Hyman and Ike Kirschenbaum
Many Radomers who came to the United States to escape Russian military service or Czarist prisons for their liberal leanings became successful businessmen in the New World. None of them neglected to contribute financial aid to his home town, but two men stood out as truly great philanthropists. They were the two Kirschenbaum cousins.
Chaim, the older one, affectionately called Hymie, quickly established a fine reputation in the line of outerwear manufacturing. His sudden death at the prime of his life was mourned equally by the industry and his many friends. It also revealed a testament which provided not only for his family and charities in the United States, but also bequeathed a large sum to benefit the Jewish Hospital and Orphanage besides other communal institutions in Radom.
The younger cousin, Isaac (Ike) Kirschenbaum, took over the management of the family's business, which flourished steadily. His name also became synonymous with integrity and responsible leadership. He was highly respected and wellliked in the sophisticated circles of his business associates, while remaining close to his former landsleit and friends.
He made large donations to the United Radomer Relief, but he did not consider this to be his only obligation. Without any fanfare and publicity he supported many individuals in order to
enable them to pursue higher education or other goals which they could not possibly attain if they had to earn a living. In this quiet way he put several young men through medical school and contributed to the publication of literary works by needy Jewish scholars. One of these was David Goldblatt (the stepbrother
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of Israel Frenkel, Ike's uncle), who was the author of the first Yiddish encyclopedia written on this continent, as well as several other books.
During Israel's struggle for independence, Ike Kirschenbaum donated large sums of money for the purchase of arms.
Ike's death came prematurely in 1950, just as he was planning a reunion with his brother Mordechai in Israel.
His will contained several large bequests to wellknown charitable organizations, including the National Conference of Christians and Jews.
This modest and unassuming man also had a talent for poetry. He started writing only in the last years of his life, at the age of 64. His widow, Marian, published a small volume of verse in 1952.
Here is one selection to illustrate the thoughts of this great man:
| Our Polish neighbors used to say in anger
That we are offenders
And we should not trespass on their land
For we are strangers
They told us to go to Palestine.
One of our own
I am also a Jew
With our hope and prayer
The homeless returned
After all those years,
With a little more care
by Israel Glatt
With the growth of Radom as an industrial center, there grew a powerful working class among the Jews of the city. In the period between the two World Wars the factories in Radom had expanded and modernized their facilities. New branches of industry were established in and around Radom, employing an everincreasing number of Jewish men and women. The Jewish working class of Radom was organized in labor unions and political parties, which gained in importance and became decisive factors in the community.
The working youth organized its own groups, with emphasis on education and fostering of socialist ideals. The young people soon became the standardbearers of the socialist movement in Radom. One of their leaders was Meir Yechiel Anschein.
Anschein spent his childhood in the typically unhappy atmosphere of poverty. In school, he was exposed to added degradation of the antiSemitic Polish boys. Though talented, he was unable to continue his education and instead, went to work as a tailor's apprentice. He was tormented by the glaring social injustices, the exploitation of the working class, the discrimination against Jews. He attended open lec
[Page 115 English]
tures and meetings of socialist groups, and found the solution to his problems in the ideology of the PoaleiZionLeft, which strove for Jewish statehood based on social justice.
Meir Anschein studied fervently at night, poring over the works of Marx, Engels, Borochow, and books written by leaders of the Zionist and socialist movements. He soon became a model of an enlightened youth, who shared his knowledge with others. He actively participated in all party efforts and rose in its hierarchy. Still in his teens, he was elected to lead the youth branch of the garment workers union. During political campaigns, Anschein was always in the forefront of activity. While maturing he gained considerable physical strength and often had to use it to fight against antiSemitic hooligans, who were often on the rampage against Jews.
Anschein often spoke of his life's dream to go to Palestine and aid in the formation of a Jewish State. The war of 1939 shattered his dreams. As did thousands of other young men, Anschein escaped from the Nazis to the Soviet Union. He immediately enlisted for work and was sent to the coal mines at Donbas. He lost his life there under mysterious circumstances.
Meir Anschein was a devoted comrade and a gallant fighter for the aspirations of the Jewish people and the rights of its working class. He died as a martyr, one of the six million Jewish victims of the Nazi holocaust.
Back row: Meir Yechiel Anschein, Moshe Kirschenblatt, Isaac Furman, Solomon Werber, Israel Belchatowski
by Alfred Lipson
The following men from Radom, now living in different countries, are noted for their distinction as authors or artists:
Simon Bakman, who started his musical career as a child prodigy in Radom, is now first violinist of the Zurich Philharmonic Orchestra and winner of many international honors.
Benjamin Ellis, author, lives in New York; he recently published his book, in Yiddish, entitled Menschn In Geheim.
David Garfinkel, painter, lives in Paris.
Dr. Joshua Grintz, a Biblical scholar and lecturer at Bar Ilan University in Israel, coauthor of the Hebrew Encyclopedia, recipient of awards for EnglishHebrew translations.
Nathan David Korman, noted Yiddish poet, contributes essays to literary magazines, published several collections of his poems, now lives in Philadelphia, Pa.
Bina Landau, popular entertainer, interpreter of Jewish and Hebrew songs on radio and records. Born Herschberg in Radom, she makes her home in Philadelphia, Pa., and tours the country on frequent concert engagements.
Charles (Chaskel) Lipshitz, historian, author of text books, presently on the staff of the YIVO, Yiddish Scientific Institute, in New York.
Sam Lipshitz, journalist, editor of the Voice of Radom, Toronto, Canada.
Joshua Rothenberg, a leading figure in the Jewish educational movement in New York; historian; frequently contributes articles to Jewish periodicals; his most recent work is a biography of Dubnov.
Rabbi Dr. S. Treistman, journalist, an expert on Jewish folklore.
Gabriel Weisman, poet and author; he now lives in Israel, where he writes books and songs for children.
Miriam WollmanShir, wellknown journalist, presently a commentator on Israeliradio, compiles Yiddish, Hebrew and Polish dictionaries.
Jacques (Jacob) Zucker, accomplished painter, whose works are exhibited in Paris, New York and Tel Aviv.
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who died a martyr's death during World War II
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