by Dr. E. Boneh (Bauman)
Translated by Moshe Kutten
A. The Sports Associations in Zloczow
Despite having a relatively small population, less than twenty thousand people, Zloczow was blessed with lively and vibrant sports life. There were four sports associations in the city:
The first, Yenina, contained studying youth and youths who served in one of the three battalions that stayed permanently in the city. Jewish youths were not accepted into that association, although there were no rules against them.
That association excelled in soccer and had the best team among the four associations. Staring 1928, the team managed to climb up the top league, and as a result, teams from throughout our district and beyond visited the city. The infantry battalion (Battalion no. 52) made its superior soccer field available for the team. Besides soccer, the association developed the sport of tennis. Two tennis courts were also made available for the association by the infantry battalion. The association enjoyed the support of the wealthy Poles in town. Its members walked around with a feeling of superiority. That resulted in a feeling of arrogance and prestige among some Polish youths, particularly among the Polish golden generation who saw themselves as the elite. That was evident during sports matches held between Yenina and others sports teams in the city. Nonetheless, it was true that the level of sports at that association was much superior to the rest of the associations, particularly in soccer.
The second most important sports association was the Z. K. S. [Zydowski Klub Sportowy The Jewish Sports Club], where the Jewish youth concentrated. The character of the association was folk-oriented and national. Jewish youth from all classes participated in it. The association kept its national-Jewish nature without hiding it and without feeling inferior. On the contrary. The full name of the association, The Jewish Sports Club, appeared in all of its advertisements and appearances. The colors of the soccer team uniform were the national colors blue and white.
The associations consisted of several sports, including soccer, track and field, table tennis, and volleyball. Obviously, the soccer team was at the center of the association. The association wished to elevate the level of its players in order not to fall behind Yenina.
|The soccer team Yuchenka Aurora|
|The soccer team Z. K. S. in 1920|
A fenced soccer field, equipped with the accessories for track and field and a bowling arcade, was made available to the Z. K. S. association.
The Jewish community in our town was proud of the sports activities of their youth. There were many activists in the associations, despite not playing sports themselves. It would be difficult, in this short article, to mention many names. However, it would be worth mentioning the name of the prominent athlete and the association's activist for many years, Mr. Harry - the owner of the vinegar factory who was the driving force of the association. In his day, he was one of the prominent and outstanding soccer players in our city. He later organized all of the elder players to play, once and a while, in friendly games, particularly on holidays, just to entertain the crowd. For the young players, such competitions were exciting events. For them, it was an opportunity to play and win against players who were once admired soccer stars.
The third-largest sports association in our town was also Jewish. It was really a spin-off of the Z. K. S. association. It separated from the Z. K.S. and established its own association called Aurora. According to my own personal memory, the separation resulted from the assimilation tendencies of some of the activists, who could not bring themselves to agree with the overt activities by the mother association as a Jewish organization. With the Polonization process affecting all aspects of life, some of the Jewish activists found it necessary to conceal the association's national uniqueness. It pushed them to separate and establish another organization with a name and uniforms that could not be associated with Jewishness.
|The Z. K. S. Viochka Team in Uniform|
|The Soccer Team Z. K. S. Practices on their Pitch|
The Aurora association concentrated its efforts on soccer, as well as Tennis.
In terms of the level, their team was much weaker than the other two teams. The association did not have a dedicated soccer pitch and had to practice in an open field, which bordered with the high-quality field of the Z. K. S. On the other hand, the association excelled in organizing balls, particularly dance balls. Assimilated Jews were obviously invited to these balls. They considered the association as means for strengthening their national assimilation.
The three associations mentioned so far were members of the state's sports union and were subjected to its authority and rules. The fourth sports association was a group of high school students named G. K. S. It only appeared in soccer matches outside of the framework of the state sports union. The team consisted of a mix of Polish and Jewish players, all students of the high school. Its playing level was not consistent since its composition changed from year to year at the end of the school year. However, it did provide the students with the opportunity to practice soccer and contribute individually, later on, to one of the three sports associations in the city.
In the preceding section, I briefly described the character of the sports associations in Zloczow. I will now highlight the important sports events in the city. That would also be brief due to the limited material available in my memory book.
B. Sports Events
One of the most noteworthy events in our city was the soccer match between Yenina and Z. K. S. For many years, the two teams belonged to the B league. Each one of them wished to advance to the upper A league. That wish was common among soccer teams anywhere. The match between the two teams carried a derby-like character, that is, a match between two local teams, where the will to win was what guided the players rather than the quality of playing. Obviously, hundreds of fans of both teams showed up for the game. Each side was cheered by its own enthusiastic supporters. Bedsides the derby-like atmosphere, the match also carried the aura of a competition between the Jewish and the Polish youths. With that aura, the soccer match attracted most of the population of the city. More than once, a mass brawl erupted among the spectators after the game, particularly when Yeninina lost. Sometimes, these brawls overflowed the boundaries of the soccer pitch onto the boardwalk. The players did not participate in these brawls. Among themselves, they maintained good relations, regardless of what association they belonged to.
Another special soccer event took place upon the arrival of famous soccer teams from other cities. The Z. K. S. took care to bring Jewish teams who made a name for themselves. That was how a team from Lviv, which called itself Hasmonea (Hashmonaim), and the team HaKo'akh The Power] from Vienna visited the city. Obviously, the hosting of such teams was accompanied by a special festivity. That elevated the enthusiasm about the sport to its peak. Yenina association also invited some of the country's best soccer teams.
Besides soccer, our city excelled in the development of other sports.
|Z. K. S. Soccer Team, 1931|
One of the most fascinating sports events was the bicycle race from Zloczow to Sasiv. Tens of youths took part in the race, either by organizing it or by riding in the race. We should note that our municipality, headed by Moshinskly and his deputy, the lawyer Meiblum, showed interest in the competition. The city provided the prizes for the youths who won the race.
Table tennis competitions under the auspice of the municipality were held in the elementary school, which was named after Mitskevitz. Jewish youths excelled in that sport. In 1929, two Jewish youths won first and second place. A Polish youth won only third place.
The sport of tennis was more developed among the Polish youths that belonged to the Yenina association. The reason for that was simple the sport was very costly, and only a few among the Jewish youth could afford it. However, we did also play a role in that sport. A few youths even participated in competitions organized by the city, when the sports stadium was opened.
During the winter, the most popular sport was ice skating. The two soccer fields, the ones of the Z. K. S. association and that of Yenina were flooded by water and were naturally frozen and thus converted to huge surfaces where hundreds of youths skated. When the stadium was opened, it was also used as an ice-skating rink in the winter. A troupe of ice dancers was brought over from Lviv. They performed magnificent dances, accompanied by the orchestra of the 52nd [Polish military] battalion. The ice-skating sport was favored by the students of the high school. More than once, whole classes could be seen going out to ice skate with their gymnastic teacher.
Since our city was surrounded by mountains, of which Vromaky[?] mountains were the best known, we also liked to ski. In a location near the municipal jail, we built a ramp and organized ski jumping competitions. The officers of the military battalions, lodged in the city, were among the best jumpers. However, there were some Jewish youths, although not members of Z. K. S., who were also among the best jumpers.
Another sports area that was quite developed in Zloczow was bowling. The only bowling arcade was located at the Z. K. S. field. Youths from throughout the city, including Polish and Jewish youths, played there. Hundreds of youths, and sometimes even older adults, took part in daily competitions. The records were written on the walls. Upon entering the arcade, one could fill the desire by the youths to beat those records. The fact that the names of the record holders were written on the wooden boards, served as an incentive to encourage the players to play harder and break the records.
Indeed, there were numerous and diversified types of sports in our town, and the sports life was buoyant and full of excitement. Not all sports embodied many participants, but there wasn't any type of sports that was not supported by the city. Horse riding and equestrian competitions were also held in the city.
|Z.T.G. Team in 1934|
Volleyball was another sport which developed, particularly by the Z. K. S. association. The sport attracted some of the older athletes who had to retire from soccer due to their age.
Benefit balls were often held by various associations. They attracted not only the athletes but also substantial parts of the population, including public leaders.
However, these tens and hundreds of Jewish youths, my childhood friends, are not with us anymore. They perished, along with our other people, by the Natis beasts. May these lines serve as a memorial for their pure souls.
by Prof. Hirsch
Translated by Moshe Kutten
I would try to refresh my memory about two Jewish historical topics - education and self-defense. They became a single topic later on. The youths who studied Hebrew because of their Jewish national orientation became the defenders of the community during the Ukrainian period. They also became the pioneers of the HaShomer [ The Guard] movement.
The first stage was the Jewish school. As was customary in Galitsia, Jewish schools were founded in various cities and towns, wherever the Jewish population existed. Zloczow was not an exception. The local Jewish school was called Safa Brura [Clear Language]. It did not replace the state school but served as an alternative to the old traditional kheder. Children went to the Jewish school in the afternoons, mainly to study Hebrew. But they also went to widen their Jewish cultural and national knowledge. Two teachers served as the pillars of the school. The first, Brodeh, was a Jew who escaped from Russia. He arrived in Zloczow in about 1908 and began to teach the Hebrew language. The second was Naftali Zigel, who later made Aliya and continued to teach in Haifa. He passed away about four years ago. Initially, there was a hidden t competition between the two teachers. However, later on, they decided to cooperate and manage the local Jewish school together. Their commendable activity was enormously successful. The Jewish community was relatively enlightened and educated. Therefore it deemed it as its duty to support the school and send their children there.
The second stage began with the break of World War I. The activities among the Jews did not cease. On the contrary, it expanded. When the HaShomer movement was established, the members were obliged to study Hebrew. The school grew and improved. An additional teacher began to work there the journalist Moshe Kleinman. He was an educated and broad-minded person. He stayed with the school until about 1920 and taught high-level courses. The leaders of the HaShomer movement improved their knowledge vastly by studying with him. During that period, the Hebrew language was taught at the Ukrainian state's high schools. The Bible and Hebrew teacher in these schools was Dr. Simkha Bunim Feldman. He was a fascinating figure. He was a religious Jew and a lawyer by his trade. When the Ukrainian Republic ceased to exist, Dr. Feldman became a regular teacher in one of the local high schools.
As mentioned above, the Jewish school played an important role in Jewish self-defense during the Ukrainian regime. In 1918, a self-defense force was organized by the students of the high schools. That was very beneficial for the defenders and the community. The defenders received training in the use of weapons while the community gained an effective defense force. That force proved effective during the several attempts by the surrounding farmers to rob and murder Jews. The self-defense served as a deterrent against attacks,
as the mob knew that they would encounter quite a substantial resistance. The military training brought upon another consequence. The latest news confirmed that the front was not too far and that the Poles and Communists were approaching fast. As a result, many young men deemed it their duty to volunteer for the army.
As a side note, when the Poles took over the area, a fairly large group of HaShomer members went to actual hakhsharah [agricultural training program as a preparation for making Aliya]. The program lasted for two months, during the entire summer.
by Naftali Zigel
Translated by Moshe Kutten
The screen that separates me from those old days thickened over the many years and accumulated dust, rust, and plenty of molds. Peeking into these past days requires turning away from my daily life and current life problems and isolate myself without any barriers with that city Zloczow, which I knew and in which I resided for two years.
The task of writing the things down was exceedingly hard because since it required the shedding of reality, removal of barriers, and relying totally on memory (except for a few meager notes).
Please forgive me, the reader, if I just draw a few lines, describe only some parts that may not be the most prominent, and leave vast space for your imaginations.
A. How I was Accepted a Position of a Teacher in Zloczow
One day, while residing in Pidhaytsi [Podhaitza] and working as a teacher in the Jewish school, I received a letter from Zloczow in these words:
Dear honorable Mr. Naftali Zigel,I lived in Pidhaytsi for three years. During that time, I managed to plow deep furrows, and my efforts bear fruits. The sound of the Hebrew language could be heard in the streets. I was spoken by the youths and even many of the adults. With the establishment of the school, these adults resurrected the language they were taught during their own childhood. Should I leave the city where I acquired so many friends and a good name for myself?
Dr. Elazar Rokach brought to our attention that his honor is a master teacher and a respectable educator. Since we are about to establish a local Jewish school, we are looking for a suitable teacher who is well-versed in religion and subscribes to the spirit of the Jewish national revival and renewal of its language. We are honored to invite your honor to invite you to visit us on Tuesday, the first day of Passover's Khol HaMoed [regular weekdays of the holiday]. That would allow us to know your honor and for your honor to know us. If agreeable, we would negotiate the term of the matter before us.
With our blessing of a national revival,
Members of the school Safa Brura,
And founders of the Jewish school in Zloczow
However, there was another concern to consider. In recent times the members of the school committee became philanthropic and accepted students for free without securing new sources for revenues. When they found out, one day, that the deficit exceeded 700 Krones, the committee decided to fire one teacher. The chairman of the teachers union in Galtisia and Bukovina, Soferman, who was aware of the situation, contacted me and suggested that I accept a position in Rohatyn. [The teacher,] Kabitner [Naftal Yaakov?] proposed that I take the offer at Hvizdet [Gwozhdzhiets]. I received telegraphic invitations from both of these towns. An emissary from Horodenka also arrived. I submitted the committee my resignation. The rumor about me leaving the city spread quickly. People began to talk about closing down the school. During their meeting, the committee decided not to accept my resignation. I was in a quandary. How could I refuse the invitation from Zloczow? I went to Zloczow on Khol HaMoed of Passover.
The city was much larger than Pidhaytsi and closer to Lviv, not far from my parents' home. The people who interviewed me made an excellent impression on me. The head of the Safa Brura [Clear Language] school committee, the lawyer Dr. Yaakov Groskopf, was an old-time Zionist, a devotee of Hebrew, pleasant, a gentle soul the evoked respect and appreciation. A similar impression made the rest of the committee's members: Dr. David Werpel, Dr. Sh. B. Feldman, the brothers (both Dr.'s) Schwager, Yosef Riss, Hersh Rosenboim, Lerrer, and Mordekhai Gevandter. Even the salary offered to me was much more generous than the one I earned in Pidhaytsi. All the that pleased me and I could not refuse their offer.
I was relatively young and I felt that a heavy burden was placed on my shoulders. Just as a coincident, two of my articles were published in the same month,
[Columns 361 - 362]
|A Group of Hebrew Teachers|
in the journal HaMitzpeh [The Observatory] issued in Krakow. One of the articles was a research-oriented paper about the Pilegesh B'Giv'a [Concubine In Givah, Judges 19-21]. The other article was a criticism of school books. These articles and the recommendation by Dr. Elazar Rokakh raised my value in their eyes. The association of [Khovevei] Tzion [Those who are] Lovers of Zion] hanged the journals where my articles were published, thereby promoting my name among the people who were interested in the school. I agreed to accept the offer, and we were ready to sign the contract. Before signing, Dr. Feldman suggested that I grow e beard. He said that they would add 20 Guldens to my monthly salary. That was a very tempting amount! However, I responded that I knew some teachers from the teacher's association and that I could provide him with their names. He retreated immediately and stated that it was not a condition for my employment, just a suggestion
Despite being tall, I considered myself a youth and could not see myself growing a beard
My good-bye in Pidhaytsi was very hard on my students, the parents, and not the least on myself. Many accompanied me to the train station. I continued to receive longing letters from my students for months
B. The School During the First Year
The registration for the school was a new kind of event for most of the city's residents, which yielded about sixty students. The school committee rented the ground floor of the slaughterer, Betman Bekhov's, new house. There were two classes on one side, an office and a room for me on the other. During the first year, I was the principal and the only teacher. There were classes for children aged six and seven, a class for eighteen years old, and special classes for the youths and the students of the Polish high school. Everybody was a beginner. I taught four hours a day but felt exhausted and the end of the day. During the first three months, I had to teach without books by talking all the time.
There was no shortage of difficulties. I discussed my new method of teaching the language with the parents. I told them that we teach speaking and writing first, and only then do we proceed to teach reading and study from books. But they insisted that we study according to traditional methods - prayers blesses and Torah I could not choose any other way except for enforcing my approach by working hard work and then demonstrating the results.
Toward the end of the school year, I prepared a Hebrew show with a diversified program that included singing, recitation, and plays. Dr. Feldman and his wife helped me with the singing parts by playing the piano they had in their house. The first scene captivated the audience. It generated a huge and enthusiastic response. Six- and seven-year-old children stood in a row along the entire length of the stage, each dressed up as artisans: A tailor standing by a sowing machine holding a thread and needle, a shoemaker holding a hammer and a tar wire, standing at his desk supporting an awl, a shoemaker's and a last for a shoe and a sandal, a blacksmith holding a sledgehammer standing at his anvil, and a baker holding a dough-trough kneading dough. Every child sang his song while pointing at his tools. In the end, they sang in a chorus:
We are all artisans, making an honest living,
Rejoicing with our portion [Patriarchs 4:1], we would experience no scarcity
Woe to the lazy they are miserable.
With thunderous applause, the children were called out three times to repeat their song. I have forgotten the rest of the details about that show. I only recall one thing:
[Columns 363 - 364]
|Students in the Jewish School|
According to the published program, I was supposed to bring the show to its end by giving a speech in Hebrew. I was extremely tired and anxious from the exhausted preparation work during the last few days, and the work behind the stage. However, when I appeared on the stage I was accepted with roaring applause and cheers that lasted for about 10 minutes. After my speech they carried me on hands to the hall (literally).
There was an excitement in the city and the success of the children in their show was the subject of talks in the stores, butcher shops, market, and synagogue for weeks. A long article about the show was published in the journal Tageblatt [the Jewish Daily News]. That served as useful propaganda towards the registration for the new school year.
by Herman Mass
Translated by Moshe Kutten
Four drama clubs operated in Zloczow at different times. I will try to describe these clubs, although the passing time had erased the details from my memory.
The first drama club was established by the Bund and was active during the years 1921 1927. Its manager was the magister Victor Gdoldig. They showed various plays among them: HaDybbuk, Got fun Nekumeh[ A Vengeful God], and Der Zinger fun Zeineh Leiden [Singing about your Own Sufferings]. The director was Mr. Gdoldig. Most often, he also played the main characters. We also should mention the promoter, Zalman Shapira, and the actors, Moshe Zisman, Leib Gruber, and his sister.
The second drama club was founded by Poalei Tzion [Workers of Zion] and was active during the years 1927 1933. The manager was Yaakov Hokhberg. He was known as a person who loved folklore and as a talented director. He used to appear as a singer and actor and was the driving force of the troupe. When the club founded by the Bund declined, some of its actors moved to the drama club of Poalei Tzion. The following are the names of the actors that I remember: Kessler, my brother Avraham Mass, Lifshits, Ester Ushpis, Halperin, and the writer of these lines.
I still remember the success of the show Der Toiter Mensh [The Dead Man"] by Shalom Ash. The barber Leider did the makeup, and artist Froikeh Nakhumovitz z"l, worked on the theater set. The latter was killed in the forests of Zloczow, along with the other victims of the Nazis.
The third drama club was named after Sh. Anski. It was managed by Dr. Rubin and Buni Greenbaum. The club was quite advanced. Buni Greenbaum was the driving force in that club. He served as the director and an artist. He even wrote some of the texts for the plays. The club hired the best actors in the city. Membership in that club was considered a privilege. The following plays were shown: BaLailah BaShuk HaYashan [At Night in the Old Market], Hagibur BeKvalim [The Hero Tied with Ropes - a short version of Les Misérables by Victor Hugo], Der vos Krigt di Petsh ]?], Di Ziben Ghungeneh, and more. The members of the troupe included: Gedalia Bressler, Mendik Rosenbaum, Zigah Schutz, Kubah Schnapp and the young women Reiss. Anski's shows always filled the theater since their acting and direction levels of
|Members of the Sports Organization in Zloczow|
were superior over the other theaters in the city (including the Polish and Ukrainians). Since the troupe showed plays in Yiddish, the youths, who formally knew only Polish, acquired Yiddish and thereby got closer to the Jewish culture.
The fourth drama club was named after Menedleh Mokher Sfarim. The troupe was active during the late 1930s. That club held reading evenings and thus disseminated the creations of the Jewish authors. The manager of that club was the younger brother of Buni Greenbaum. The following people were active in the troupe, Yekhezkel Wagman Steller Tzimmer, Klara Zaltz, Henis, Efraim Rosen, Shlomo Meir, Khana Ruten, Avraham Kimmel, and the writer of these lines.
In addition to the drama clubs, the excellent chorus conducted by Mr. Zindwarm was known in Zloczow.
We need to note that Zloczow had an enthusiastic theater-going crowd. The city attracted many theater troupes, including the Vilna Troupe, Sigmund Turkov, Idah Kaminska, Dzigan and Schumacher, The Warsaw's Theater, and more.
The Jewish youth contributed tremendously to the development of the culture and art in Zloczow. However, the cruel war annihilated the best of the youths. May their memory be blessed.
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