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Yiddish Theater in Czenstochow

by W. Gliksman, A. Chrabolowski, R. Federman

The Yiddish theater in Czenstochow shared the fate of the Yiddish theater in Russia and Poland on its road of development: it had good and bad times.

In addition to the censor from the czarist regime, which [monitored] each theater piece and gave permission to produce it or forbid performances, theater performances were dependent on the good will of the local official or Russian regional police supervisor. Often it happened that a play was advertised that was being performed with the permission of the regime, either in Warsaw or Lodz, and a different play was performed. In such cases “people” around the theater who also made a living from this assisted in such difficulties.

Our Jewish theater in our city had no greater difficulty than finding an appropriate room with a stage. The performances started in Jewish halls where weddings would take place and in the firemen's hall that was located in the poorest part of the city thickly populated by Jews. In time, however, the Jewish theater performances were moved to the halls of “Lira,” “Warta” and even in the building of the Polish Municipal Theater.

Almost all Jewish theater troupes in Poland gave performances in Czenstochow. There was even more material success during the winter months.

However, it was not only the professional theater groups that had an effect on the spreading of Yiddish theater art in our city.

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Amateur circles existing in Czenstochow had a very great part in this. With great strength, devotion and love of Yiddish theater, they gave their successful performances for a number of years and produced several directors and talented [actors] who later took part in professional troupes.

It is worth remembering from which social classes in Jewish Czenstochow the amateur troupes were recruited. It was characteristic for that time of the rising workers movement [for] the Jewish amateur groups to be constituted in great part from the poor Jewish class in general and from the working masses in particular. While the stated purpose for the Jewish amateurs was to spread culture among the Jewish working masses, the Jewish amateurs also wanted to develop their class consciousness through the theater and raise their political and social level of achievement.

Because of the destruction of the Jewish Archive in our city during the Second World War (a greater part was given to the Vilna YIVO [Yidisher Visnshaftlekher Institut – Yiddish Scientific Institute]), we are not able to give an exact overview of the development of Yiddish theater in Czenstochow. Because it is worth having a general picture of Yiddish theater in our city, we will provide a chronological report put together on the basis of documents found among those from Czenstochow in America and on their memories.

 

Professional Acting Troupes and their Repertory

One of the first theater troupes that appeared in Czenstochow before the First World War was the cooperative troupe of Kurpinow with Pola Portnoy in the main roles.

The acting troupe of Moshe Zilberkasten under the leadership of Wajshof spent a long time in Czenstochow. Zilberkasten directed several performances and acted himself. One of his productions was Peretz Hirshbein's Di Neveyle [The Carcass].

On the 15th of September 1912 a family evening with the participation of Yosef Tunkel (der tunkeler – the dark one) was arranged at Lira. Zilberkasten directed Sholem Aleichem's one act play, Mazel Tov [Good Luck] with Miss Sem, Yeta Pakula, Sh. Frank, F. Szmulewicz, R. and M. Bornsztajn.

On the 21st and 22nd of February 1913, the Jewish troupe under the direction of Madame Triling and Adolf Berman played in the Lira hall. The then well–know actors, Fogelnest, Kutner, Lasznowska, Gotfrid, Rozen, Gutherc and others took part. H. L. Czelaza was the director of the troupe. They performed the following three presentations: 1) Di Eizener Froy [The Iron Women]; 2) Doktor Zeyfenbloz [Doctor Zeyfenbloz (soap bubble)]; 3)) Di Amerikanerin [The American Woman]. All three performances were held with great success. On the 13th of March of the same year, the troupe produced Jacob Gordin's Di Shvue [The Oath].

In the middle of the days of Sukkous [Feast of Tabernacles] of 1913 two Jewish troupes gave performances at Lira. One was under the direction of Michalzon, who staged the comic operetta, Zeyn Weyb's Man [His Wife's Husband]. The second was under the direction of Hendelist with the play Dora, a melodrama in four acts and Der Yidisher Kenig Lir [The Jewish King Lear].

On the 14th of November of the same year a Jewish troupe presented a joyful four–act operetta, Der Lustiker Foygl [The Cheerful Bird] at Lira.

In 1919 a troupe under the direction and with the participation of the Jewish actor, [Karl] Cymbalist, and with the soubrette soprano, Eizenberg, performed in Czenstochow. Fela Fajnrich–Bira, a Czestochow amateur, took part in this troupe. They performed the plays, Der Gosn–Zinger [The Street Singer], Zalotarewski's Der Yeshiva–Bukher [The Yeshiva Student], Z. Libin's Gebrokhen Hertser [Broken Hearts], Got Mentsch un Teyvl [God, Man and Devil] and Der Yidisher Kenig Lir of Jacob Gordin.

During the first years of liberated Poland we see an entire series of Jewish theater troupes with the most distinguished Jewish actors at the head in Czenstochow. In 1922–23, [Ester Ruchl] Kaminska and her ensemble appeared as guests in the following three performances: Di Zibn Gehangene [The Seven Who Were Hung], Kritzer Sonata [The Kreutzer Sonata based on the novella by Leo Tolstoy] and Mirele Efros.

The troupe of [Karl] Cymbalist and Regina Cuker played in Czenstochow in 1924. The actors Mikhal Klajn and Blat took part among others. The performances took place in the hall of the Warta sports club in the Second Aleje. It is worth mentioning that Moshe Kohn, the Czenstochow amateur who later became a professional actor and passed the exam as an actor at the Artists Union in Warsaw, took part in this troupe. In 1925 Herman's Dramatic Studio visited Czenstochow. Among the then young artistic talents we see Melnik, Pataszinski and Matl Goldblum. They performed

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A portion of the repertory of the Actor's Groups

 

Di Greyne Felder [The Green Fields] by Perec Hirshbein and Kwadratur fun Kreyz [Squaring the Circle by Valentin Kataev].

In 1927, the troupe of Nekhama and Kadisz played in Czenstochow for a long time. Among the series of successfully performed plays and operettas, the greatest success was the play, Der Golem [The Golem], directed by Mark Arnsztajn. The presentations were even attended by the Polish population, which was a rarity in Poland.

These were the first steps toward a continuous Yiddish theater in Czenstochow. R. Federman, the councilman from the Bundist party faction in the city council, passed a resolution with the decision to subsidize the Yiddish theater with 1,000 zlotes. The sum was paid to the Jewish Artists Union in Warsaw.

A committee for Yiddish theater was created among the Jewish population in Czenstochow with the participation of Y. Rozenberg, Ahron Perec, R. Federman, Y. Sak, Z. Sztiler and others. An impressive banquet took place in connection with this. R. Federman was at the time the representative to the Yiddish Artists' Union in Poland for the professional theater troupe that performed in Czenstochow.

These two facts, moreover, explain

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that Jewish touring troupes began performing in the new building of the Polish State Theater on Kilinski Street. When we think that the first Yiddish productions took place in the firemen's hall, in Lira or even in the “Warta,” the fact that the State Theater building was provided for Yiddish performances is a very great achievement.

During 1928–29 the Vilner Trupe [Vilna Troupe] with Miriam Orleska and [Mordekhai] Mazo visited Czenstochow. They performed Kiddush ha–Shem [Sanctification of the Name] by Sholem Asch with great success. Jakov Wajslic and Josef Kamien were the guests of Czenstochow.

Among the dramatic artists who gave performances in our city as well as appearances by individual actors from the Habima [The Stage, founded in Bialystok, now the national theater of Israel] and the famous Russian artistic cabaret, Der Bloyer Foygl [The Blue Bird], it is worth mentioning Zigmund Turkow and Ida Kaminska, Jonas Turkow and Diana Blumenfeld, Klara Segalowicz, Avraham Morewski, Samberg, Aleksander Granach, Julius Adler, Benny Adler, Hersh Hordt, Viktor Henkin, Brukha Tsfira, Chana Rawina, Herc Grosbard, Ruchl Halcer, Szriftzencer and others.

They all performed plays from the European and Yiddish repertoire. A short review of the programs shows the interest of the Czenstochow Jewish public: thus was performed Hinkemann [Expressionist drama by Ernst Toller] with Julius Adler, The Gele Late [Yellow Patch] with Aleksander Granech, Yoshe Kalb with the Morris Schwartz Troupe, Herr Lampertier with Zigmund Turkow and Ida Kaminska in a series of other performances from the artistic repertoire.

It is worth remembering the Ararat, under the direction of Moshe Broderzon with the artists, Gadik, Strugacz, Dzigan, Szumacher (a Czenstochower son–in–law), Ala Lilit, Sheyna Miriam, Goldsztajn and others among the review theater and operetta troupes. The Azazel also visited Czenstochow. The operetta troupe of Herszkowicz with Leibl Winer and Malwina Wajner also guest–starred in our city. The popular M[enakhem] Kipnus and Zimrah Zeligfeld, Winogrodow, Moshe Rudinow and Rut Lewaisz were very often guests in Jewish Czenstochow.

We have little information about the series of performances in Czenstochow that took place shortly before the Nazi occupation.

 

Amateur Theater Groups and Their Repertoire

According to the description by Chaim–Leib Szwarc, with the Yiddish amateur troupes, “Czenstochow became a city” beginning with the children's troupe of Yakov Ber Silwer. The first play that they produced was Di Tsvey Kuni Lemel [The Two Kuni Lemels]. In 1905, the first theater group was founded from this children's group in which Yakov Ber Silwer, Dovid Zitman, Miss Rubinsztajn, Moshe Sandler, Emanuel Klajnman, Wolf Majarczik and others took part. They then presented Uriel Acosta with great success. Another amateur group with the participation of Nakhum Yankl Fridman, the lame Kopl, Gutsha Ruchl the daughter of the mute one, Hela Bida and Gutsha Montag then took part in the presentations by professional actors from Mrs. Arnsztajn's troupe that appeared in Czenstochow at that time.

 


A group of the first amateur actors
Standing from right to left: Chaim, the son of the mute one, D. Zitman
Sitting: D. Menlewicz

 

At the end of 1906 an amateur theater group was organized by S.S. [Socialist Zionists] under the leadership of Comrade Benyamin in which took part: Mendl Szuchter,

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Meir Fajnrajch, Manya and Hendl Szaferenko, Shimkhah Kalka, Aleksander (Leibush the teacher), Alter Stadole, Laya Herszlikowicz and others. They performed Jan and Modlen and the Yidn [Jews] by Tshirikower. The performances took place in the Pariski Theater, the main location for theater performances by first class Polish and Yiddish troupes. The performance by the group was a great event in Czenstochow.

A new chapter of Yiddish theater in Czenstochow began with the rise of the Yiddish Literary Society and its later merger with Lira [literary and music society].

The first performance of the amateur drama group at the Yiddish Literary Society took place on Sunday, the 16th of April 1911 in the Lira hall. Two one–act plays were performed: 1) Der Eybike Lid [The Eternal Song] by M[ark] Arnsztajn with the participation of M. Fajnrajch, Mrs. Muszinska, Miss Burkan, R. Federman, Gradan, M. Zilberberg, M. Fajnrajch, Miss Muszinska, Miss Burkan, R. Federman and 2) Bukhirim [Young Men], a comedy in one act by Yitzhak Katsenelson with the participation of: R. Federman, S. Gradan, M. Zilberberg, F. Szmulowicz. Recited the same evening were: Gezikht [Countenance], by Y. L. Peretz by Miss B. Birkan, Dranow's Meshugener in Shpitol [The Crazy One in the Hospital] – B. Dawidowicz, Tsu di Brider [To the Brothers] by Bowzewer – Yeta Pakula. S'gayt tsu Pesakh [Passover Arrives] by Y.L. Peretz – R. Federman. Oyfn Buzim fun Yom [On the Bosom of the Sea] by M. Rozenfeld – Dora Szacher. Ahron Peretz directed the performance.

The second dramatic evening of the Yiddish Literary Society took place on Tuesday, the 23rd of May 1911 in the Municipal Theater (Parisian room). Four one–act plays by Y.L. Peretz were presented. 1) Nokh Kvore [After Burial] ,– with the participation of Madam Miriam Izraels, Yeta Pakula, Dora Szacher. 2) A Frimorgn [A Morning] with the participation of Mark Schweid, M. Zilberberg, Miss Y. Aronowicz, Dora Szacher, Miriam Izraels. 3) S'brent [It's Burning] with the participation of Mark Schweid, M. Zilberberg, Miss Y. Aronowicz, Dora Szacher, Miriam Izraels, R. Federman, Y. Zilberman. 4) In Polish Oyf der Keyt [Chained in the Synagogue Anteroom by Y.L. Peretz] with the participation of Mark Schweid and Miriam Izraels. The performance was directed by Mark Schweid, who spent some time in Czenstochow because of this.

Miriam Israels also was brought to Czenstochow by Lira where she produced several performances with the help of amateur directors.

On the 22nd of November 1913, an evening of Sholem Aleichem was arranged at Lira at which the amateur troupe performed the well–known comedy, Mentshn [People]. Krak, Aronowicz, Mrs. Sobol, Werner, Miss Kramalowska, Pola Mauer, F. Szmulewicz, Miss Rajchner and Miss Szapira took part in this presentation. This was one of the most successful amateur productions.

 


Miriam Israels

 

Two successful amateur performances at Lira were arranged at the initiative of the Czenstochower Sports Union. Sholem Aleichem's Agentn [Agents] was produced for the first time with the participation of D. Krak, Werner, Sziper and Prawer. H. Fajwlowicz and Yosef Aronowicz also took part in the evening, read several monologues. On the 15th of October 1913, Der Retenish and di Lezung [The Mystery and the Solution] that was performed as an amateur presentation was staged for the second time, where everyone, the amateur actors, director and prompter,

 


The amateur troupe of Y.S.K. that presented H. D. Nomberg's the Mishpocha [Family]

 

exceeded expectations in their roles. Pola Mauer, Werner and Krak took part in the presentation. Gutshe Bem – the soloist from Lira – also appeared with a Yiddish folksong, Lebn Tor Men Nit [We Are Not Permitted to Live] – accompanied by H. Makroyer.

On the 23rd of March 1913, the Lira society

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arranged a Purim evening. Mark Arnshteyn's one–act play, Der Frage Tseykn [The Question Mark].

The amateur troupes presented a whole series of performances up to the outbreak of the First World War.

An amateur troupe under the name “Lovers of Yiddish Theater Art” was active in Czenstochow at the time of the German occupation of 1914–1918. Taking part in the troupe were: Yakov Yitzhak Czarnowiecki, P. Szmulewicz, Sh. Frank, Gotajner, Dora Szacher, Fela Rajcher, Cesha Federman, Rubinsztajn, Rafael Federman and Leytsha Gliklich. The director of the troupe was Hershl Gotajner. Di Meshpoke [The Family] by H.D. Nomberg and Di Yidn [The Jews] by Cherikower were among a series of plays that they performed then. The success of these presentations in Czenstochow had the result that the Y.S.K. [Yiddish Theater Art] had to give a series of performances in the province around Czenstochow. It excelled as the best Jewish amateur troupe in our city.

The Y.S.K. carried out another cultural presentation on the 10th of June 1916 in the Karsa Theater. This was a memorial dedicated to the recently deceased Sholem Aleichem with the following program:

  1. On the Fresh Grave, recitation by Cilia Horowicz and illustrated with a living picture by artist Peretz Wilenberg.
  2. Yosef Aronowicz spoke about Sholem Aleichem.
  3. Oyf Mayn Kaver [On My Grave] recited by D. Szacher.
  4. Kayn Ein–Hore [Without an Evil Eye] performed by Alter Rotbard.
  5. Di Gimnazie [The Secondary School], read by Y. Aronowicz. Sholem Aleichem's Mentshn [People] was performed in the second part of the memorial with Y. Aronowicz, Werner, D. Szacher, Polya Mauer, Rotbard, Miss Gela Rozenberg and Fela Rajcher taking part.
The last years of war and the beginning of the new Poland brought a certain suspension of the activity of the Czenstochow amateur groups but on the 4th of April 1920 the dramatic section of the workers' club, Fareinikte [United], revived its cultural work and performed F[ishel] Bimko's play, Di Ganovim [The Thieves]. The performances took place in the Polania Theater with the participation of Moshe Kremski, A. Wenger. Regina Rozengeld (Kuperman), Kh. Bendet, Alek Lewensztajn. Kh. Epsztajn and Pola Kastensztajn. The main role was played by Sh. Frank.

On the 22nd of January, F. Bimko's play, Di Ganovim, was performed for the second time in Czenstochow. The entire income was designated for the central council of the professional unions in Czenstochow. Der Dorfs Yung [The Village Youth] with Lewensztajn and Frank was performed the same year.

A special holiday in the Jewish neighborhood was the children's performances by the Y.L. Peretz Folks–Shul [people's school] and children's home. Two of these children, Rukhl Tekstiler and Genya Berkowicz, are mentioned in our report, Dos Letste Yohr [The Last Year]. Both of them survived the Nazi hell; the former is in Shanghai and the latter in Czenstochow.

This short summation shows how much understanding Jewish Czenstochow had for Yiddish theater, for Jewish cultural presentations, supporting in full measure its own and foreign talents.

And as the eye delights in seeing how plants and flowers grow in a cemetery, which is the strongest sign of eternity in life, let us again rejoice in hearing about a Yiddish theater in Czenstochow.


The Yiddish Press

by A. Khrobolowski, M. Tzeszinski & R. Rederman

The Beginning

Before Fraynd [Friend] moved to Warsaw from Petersburg and until the publication of Haynt [Today] and Moment, very few Czenstochow Jews read newspapers. HaMelitz [The Morning Star], HaTzeifa [The Siren] and Fraynd from Petersburg came to Czenstochow to a few subscribers. The two Czenstochow bookbinders and booksellers, Lapides and Bajgele, who provided the

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[Translator's note: the photo on this page contains the mastheads of the newspapers published in Czenstochow.]

From top to bottom on the right:

Reklamenblat [Advertiser] [The name is spelled differently elsewhere in the original text.]
Vokhnblat [Weekly Newspaper]
Togblat [Daily Newspaper]
Arbeter–Zeitung [Workers Newspaper]

Der Neye Vort [The New Word]
ProletarierM [Proletarian]
Undzer Shtime [Our Voice]

From top bottom on the left:

Ekspres Częstochowski
Di Zeit [The Time]
Czenstochower Veker [Czenstochow Alarm]
Undzer Ekspres [Our Express]
Czenstochower Zeitung [Czenstochow Newspaper]
Undzer Veg [Our Way]

 

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Jewish readers with storybooks on loan for a grosn also subscribed to the Fraynd and one could read their newspaper for one kopike. However, one had to wait on line. The line could be ten people or more. The newspaper would become worn out so that the last reader could barely read a sentence.

The first true newspaper distributors in Czenstochow were the three partners, Moshe Leib Lewensztajn, Heshke Gutfreynd and Shlomo Frankfurter. They were the representatives of Warsaw newspapers, which would usually arrive at noon. There first location for selling newspapers was in the First Aleje, at first near Nejfeld's apothecary stockroom, then in the tower of house number 7, where the loan and saving office was located. Masses of people would await the arrival of the newspapers every day. They also had regular customers to whom they delivered the newspaper at home.

The first publication in Czenstochow itself was the proclamations by the parties. Many of the proclamations were printed in Baczan's printing shop, for good or for bad. One of the regular printers of the proclamations was Shimkha Kalka. The Socialist-Zionist organization in Czenstochow later organized its own printing shop.

The first newspaper writer in Czenstochow was Moshe Ceszinski who would write letters with reports about Czenstochow in the Warsaw and other newspapers under the name Moshe Ce. It should be understood that the metropolitan newspapers did not give much space to the provinces. Therefore, local weeklies began to appear in various cities to serve local communal life. The Bendin [Bedzin] Anonsn-Blat [Bendin Advertizing Newspaper] was such a weekly where R. Federman published reports from Czenstochow. This moved the Czenstochow activists to create their own press and the Czenstochower Reklamen-Blat [Czentsochow Advertisement Newspaper] was founded.

 

Czenstochower Reklamen-Blat
[Czenstochower Advertizer]

The first issue of the Czenstochower Reklamen-Blat was published on Friday, the 6th of December 1912 in B. Boczan's printing shop. Signed by B. Boczan as editor-publisher. The founders were A. Chrobolowski, Hershele Fajwlowicz, Moshe Cieszynski and Yakov Rozenberg.

The funds for the first edition of the newspaper were raised by Moshe Ce., who collected [payments] for the first 20 rubles of advertisements. This was not an easy task. He also wrote the local news. Rozenberg, who was then an employee at Vulkan (iron foundry), was the financier and the first editor. Hershele Fajwlowicz was the popular columnist and A_ski the feature article writer.

No particular permission to issue the newspaper was required. Permission to print periodic publications then in tsarist Russia only required the signature of the publisher. After publication several copies would be sent to the censor.

The plan to publish a weekly newspaper by a group of amateurs, without financial means was, in general, boldly utopian. However, at the most critical moment, at the publication of the first edition, B. Boczan required that all of the printed material including announcements first be translated into Russian in order to obtain the permission of the local gendarmerie, and Berl Boczan, of blessed memory, was a hard Jew to convince and to force him to relent was difficult. During the revolutionary years even the revolvers of the Socialist-Zionists could not force the publication of illegal proclamations. And the “miracle” of convincing Boczan to allow the printing without Russian translation was greater than the printing of the newspaper itself.

The first issue of Reklamen-Blat, price one kopeke, contained:

Undzer Tsil [Our Objective] that was formulated thus:
“To give every merchant or producer [of goods] the opportunity to make their items and goods known to the wide public and also to show the customer the place and source for where to buy everything that is needed.”
Then came the promise: “To report on the activities of communal institutions as for example: Jewish community credit institutions, cultural unions and societies.”
Czestochower Neyes [news], two items of news: a) “The Malbushim Arumin [society for providing clothes for the poor] will provide 127 pairs of boots and 62 overcoats to poor boys on Shabbos [Sabbath]; b) “The priest Damazi Matczak was visited in his Piotrkow jail cell by his lawyer Klajn; he

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should sign the plea to the Senat about an appeal. Matczak refused to sign.

A report from Kielce began on the first page and ended on the second, signed by F. B-O (Fishl Bimko, a report from Noworadomsk by RMI. On the second page, under the feature, was located “The Community's Smart Aleck,” assembled by H. Fajwlowicz. On the third page – the light article by A-ski, Chanukah – printed in five-point type (the larger type already was being used for the local news and correspondents). There was also a small feature article by Yakov Rozenberg and finally, city news.

Then came announcements from Uranja, Second Aleje 38 and Odeon Second Aleje 43. An announcement for a great Chanukah evening in Lira with the artist Miriam Izraels, a Chanukah evening at the Artisans Club with a reading by Engineer Ratner about the significance of Chanukah and with the participation of Cantor Z. Rozental and, finally, “Recitations, dance and candy” and three large Chanukah presentations at Lira by the comedians Goldberg and Herszkowicz, prima donna Laskowski and light soprano Guczecheter.

The third issue of Reklamen-Blat felt as if the child was teething. The article, “The Jewish Anti-Semitism,” attacked with strong language the Jews who provided employment who declined to hire Jewish workers in their factories.

A_ski dedicates the feature article in the fourth issue to “A Life's Question,” emigration.

The feature article in the fifth issue was dedicated to “Physical Development Among Jews.” Two notices in the local news told of the Russian regional police supervior, Denisov, who was convicted in the Piotrkow county court of belonging to the Polish Socialist Party and reported that the Warsaw Sudebna Palate [Court of Appeals] convicted the well-known writer Maria Glikson, daughter of the well-known Czenstochow lawyer, of belonging to the Polish Socialist Party and hiding expropriated money. She was sentenced to two years and eight months forced labor.

In the sixth issue, the first article was a call to the Jewish merchants against whom a strong boycott movement had begun after the election for the Fourth Duma, urging them to organize into a merchants' union.

Articles, one in the sixth issue, “Khoveve Sras Eyver [Lovers of Hebrew] in Lira” by L. K. (Leon Kapinski) and the second in the seventh issue, “The Khovevim [Lovers] in Lira,” by a Yiddishist (A_ski), show that the Hebrew-Yiddish struggle emerged in the split in the Czenstochower press.

In the seventh issue is also found a short opinion article, “With what do Jews rejoice?” by F. Sz___cz (Faytl Szmulewicz). It turns out that these were his first published lines. The issue was published on the 17th of January 1913.

The Reklamen-Blat lasted for nine issues. On the 14th of February 1913, the Czenstochower Vokhnblat, issue 1 was published.

 

Czenstochower Vokhnblat
[Czenstochower Weekly Newspaper]

Issue five of the Czenstochower Vokhnblat was published in a larger format and began to acquire the appearance of a newspaper. An article, Vegn Kheder [About Kheder - religious primary schools], was published in the seventh issue that demanded a new secular Jewish folkshul [public school].”

The 10th issue – Vokhnblat – der Pesakh Numer [the Passover issue] – was almost a “literary one.” It contained a feature article by L. (Leon Kapinski), In der Midbar [“In the Desert”] signed: a young Jew (A. Ch.), A Blut Bilbl [A Blood Libel], monologue by a Jewish reporter dedicated to Baylis in Kiev by Ipsolin (H. Fajwlowicz) and Pesakhdike Kinder-Zkhronus [Childhood Passover Memories] dedicated to my comrade, Meir Hirsh, by Ben Yakov (Moshe Ceszinksi).

In issue 11 Ben Yakov wrote about the emigrants who go across the Czenstochow border and demand that the Jewish community workers open a division of the Petersburg Emigrant Society.

“A member” (A.Ch.) deals with the “Lines Hatsedek [Poor House],” in a feature in the same issue; he believes that this society needs to care for the physical development of the Jewish child through the founding of a summer

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colony and the creation of kindergartens in the free air.

In the 12th issue is found a piece of local news: “Again a Strike in the 'Matta' factory” and a notice with such contents as: “On the First of May in Czenstochow.” “A day before the 1st of May mass arrests and searches took place in Czenstochow. The police also tore down several red flags from the telegraph wires in various parts of the city.” This was in 1913.

In the feature article of issue 13, a project was proposed to build a Folkshoyz [people's house] in Czenstochow for all societies and unions.

In the 14th issue there was a report by Moshe Ce. about a large group of Czenstochow emigrants who left for Galveston.

Issue 17 and 18 were published under the editing of the young journalist, Y. T. Braun of Warsaw. H. Fajwlowicz again edited issue 19. The main articles were written by A_ski and local writer, Moshe Ce.

Elections of Dozors [members of the community synagogue councils] took place in September 1923 in the Jewish community. The Czenstochower Vokhnblat carried on a widespread [information campaign] so that the taxpayers would take part in the election and choose Dozors who would represent all strata of the Jewish population and not only the “Germans” (the assimilated). A series of communal letters [was published] about the task of the official Jewish community; of the 1,200 taxpayers who had the right to vote in the election only 40 people had taken part. The majority of the votes were received by Dr. Zaks, Ludwig Tempel and Henrik Markusfeld.

Because of a quarrel with the publisher, B. Boczan, the 36th issue was published with Yizroel Placker as the editor. However the quarrel was resolved quickly and the newspaper was again published with its usual co-workers.

The [Menakhem Mendel] Beilis trial started in Kiev and moved the Jewish press away from other problems. Several issues of the Vokhnblat were dedicated to [the issue of] blood libel that was directed against the entire Jewish people. The Aleje 6 was flooded with Jews when the sentence of the judges became known. The extra publication was torn from the hands [of those selling it].

 

Undzer Zeitung
[Our Newspaper]

In October 1913 a second weekly newspaper began to publish under the name Czenstochower Zeitung. The newspaper was published at the printing shop of Lutek Cymerman. The editors were Kronenberg and Lewicz.

During the same year, 1913, two social reforms took place in Russia. One was the workers' sick fund. The second was a law that permitted the founding of professional unions in a limited form. The Czenstochower Vokhnblat provided a great deal of space to these questions, particularly the professional unions that were founded during the same period.

In the last issue of Vokhnblat (number 46 of the 26th of December 1913) a report is found that was printed in small type but had a great significance. We learn that the artisans' club organized a solemn meeting in honor of Mr. Henrik Markusfeld in connection with one year of the existence of the loan and saving fund at the club. At the meeting, A. Rotszild, a worker, touched on the question that Jewish workers were not allowed into the factories owned by the Jewish communal workers and philanthropists and those who had been working there earlier were being pushed out little by little. Mr. Markus Win, director of the kapeluszarnia [hat factory] where around 140 Jewish girls worked, said that the Jewish Sabbath prevents the Jewish worker from coming to the factory. A great discussion developed. However, there were no great results brought forward. And the Czenstochower Togblat that began to publish at the beginning of 1914 again brought up the question several times.

 

Czenstochower Togblat
[Czenstochower Daily Newspaper]

From the beginning the Czenstochower Togblat was published by the partnership of B. Boczan and Yakov Rozenberg. However, when the sum of 300 hundred rubles that Rozenberg had invested in it ran out, the result was that B. Boczan himself took over the newspaper.

Y. Abramson was brought from Lodz, where he had worked at a penny newspaper, as the editor of the Czenstochower Togblat. He was a good Yiddish writer and had a philosophical head. He belonged to the then

[Page 97]

penitents who were disappointed by the reactionary years.

The Czenstochower Togblat dealt with the same problems and questions in its features as the Vokhnblat. The newspaper came out for reform of the kheder [religious primary school] and for creating a Jewish folks-shul [public school] and often criticized the attitude toward Yiddish in the communal institutions that mainly were led by the so-called assimilated. The newspaper gave a large place to the election of the dozors [members of the synagogue councils] that took place in the summer of 1913. In order to awaken an interest in voting among the Jewish public, the payers of the taxes, articles were published with interviews with Rabbi, Reb Nakhum Asz, Engineer F. Ratner, Herman Szaja, Josef Imich, A. Warszawski, the Wolier Rabbi Iszaiewicz, Leon Kapinski and the lawyer Y. Grinbaum from Warszaw. The conclusion was that the community also needed to be represented by a representative of the orthodox. The candidate was Shmuel Goldsztajn. The candidacy of Engineer Ratner also was made known. The assimilated remained the leaders of the organized community.

Working with Abramzon at the Togblat was H. Fajwlowicz, who worked as a proofreader and as a writer of popular columns about city life and about the shtetlekh [towns] around Czenstochow. A-ski, who did not agree with Abramzon's tendency to the right, from time to time published articles, mainly about workers' lives.

From time to time R. Federman also published articles about the fight for Yiddish.

The Czenstochower Togblat also often published short and longer literary stories from A. Epelbaum and Jack London among others.

With the outbreak of the First World War, the newspaper ceased [to publish]. However, under the German occupation it again published in combination with Lazar Kohn's Folkszeitung [People's Newspaper] from Lodz. Y. Abramzon, an enemy of the Germans, left Czenstochow at the beginning of the [First] World War. The newspaper, actually the local news, published in Boczan's printing shop, was run by H. Fajwlowicz with the participation of Mendl Asz.

The Czenstochower Togblat was again published independently at the end of the war until it ceased entirely in 1919.

 

Dos Neye Vort
[The New Word]

In April 1920, Dos Neye Vort, a weekly put out by the communal organization Fareinikte [united], dedicated to the worker and communal life in Czenstochow, began to publish. R. Federman was the official editor. A. Chrabalowski led the newspaper and he almost entirely filled it.

Right after the outbreak of the Soviet-Polish War, almost all of the newspapers in Poland that were published by the Bund and Poalei-Zion [Workers of Zion – Marxist Zionists] were closed. The majority of labor activists were arrested, among them a large number of Bundist activists from Czenstochow headed by Yosef Aronowicz. Dos Neye Vort, which remained almost the only Yiddish workers' newspaper in Poland, recorded the names of the closed newspapers and the arrested communal workers. This news alone would take up several columns.

As compared to other previous Czenstochow Yiddish newspapers, Dos Neye Vort gave its main attention, as can be seen in its editorials, to actual political problems. However, Czenstochow communal life also had a large place in the newspaper.

The condition of Jewish life in Czenstochow had changed a great deal during the era of the [First World] War. The assimilated [Jews] were pushed out little by little from the communal positions. A Zionist-Orthodox majority reigned in the Jewish gmina [administrative district]. Assimilated Zionists and the Orthodox now were united in one bloc during the various elections and the poor masses stood against them and the organized Jewish workers. Dos Neye Vort defended the interests of the poor Jewish population and of the working class. And although the paper was published by a party organization, it avoided narrow partisanship and would therefore be read by workers from all movements and by a large number of the independent young people.

Dos Neye Vort was the party organ of the central committee of Fareinikte in Warsaw from the 15th of October 1920 to the 25th of February 1921. The editor was M. Mendelsberg of Warsaw. The last two sides [pages] would be dedicated to local life. The number of readers in Czenstochow fell significantly during this time.

[Page 98]

At the end of 1921 the paper again began to publish as a local newspaper. The newspaper became leftist compared to other non-communist worker newspapers in Poland in view of the increased [anti-Jewish] reaction in Poland – Dos Neye Vort stood out with its pro-Soviet articles and, therefore, maintained its independence.

Dos Neye Vort paid a great deal of attention to the cultural development of the working masses, particularly of the young workers. At that time a widespread network of worker educational institutions already existed such as worker nurseries, the Y.L. Peretz public school, evening courses for young workers, sports organization and an entire series of young worker institutions. All of this had already been presented in the Czenstochower Vokhnblat in 1913.

At the same time, Yiddish also received full civil rights as a language in a series of communal and civic institutions, such as, for example, with the handlowces [trademen], in the credit institutions, in retailers' union and so on. This also was in great measure a result of the struggle led by the local Yiddish press.

Thanks to the articles and reports about the local Jewish school system, Dos Neye Vort connected Czenstochow with all of its friends in America who supported the local institutions.

The well-known pedagogue, Yisroel Rubin, now in Eretz-Yisroel, wrote articles for Neye Vort from time to time. Poems by Avraham Zak of Warsaw also would often be published.

At the end of 1922, when R. Federman moved to the Bund, A. Chrabalowski, the actual editor, appeared officially as the editor. A lawsuit was brought against him [A. Chrabalowski] for an article, “The Quiet Murder,” against the Polish government closing the schools run in Warsaw and the provinces by the Bundist society, Undzer Kind [Our Child]. He then immediately left for America and the editorial board was taken over by Sh. Frank.

Of the articles reprinted from other newspapers, [Moissaye Joseph] Olgin's letters from the Soviet Union printed in the New York Freiheit [Freedom] occupied the most important place.

 

Undzer Shtime
[Our Voice]

In 1928, several issues of Undzer Shtime, the central organ of the Jewish section of the “Independent Party” were published in Czenstochow under the editorship of A. Chrabalowski. This was the name of the previous Fareinikte that was now united with Boleslaw Drobner's socialist leftist group.

The main articles in Undzer Shtime were written by Dr. Josef Kruk. Sh. [Shloyme] Bastomski, the editor of Grininke Beymelekh [Little Green Trees] in Vilna, published articles here about cultural issues.

 

Czenstochower Zeitung
[Czenstochow Newspaper]

At the same time, Boczan's printing shop again began to publish a periodical under the name Czenstochower Zeitung. Yisroel Placker was the editor for a long time. Its [political] orientation was Zionist-Orthodox. Later, the editorship of the newspaper changed often. Sh. Frank worked at the Czenstochower Zeitung for a long time, publishing articles about communal life and feature articles. Moshe Leib Lewensztajn, under the name Levyosn [Leviathan], wrote weekly reports under the title, “What was heard, what happened.” M. Kaufman, a typesetter in Boczan's printing shop, often published topical articles. A. H. Sziper also excelled with his articles.

 

Neye Zeitung
[New Newspaper]

A weekly under the name Neye Zeitung was published for a long time in Czenstochow under the editorship of Y. Wajzberg.

Czentochower Ekspres [Czenstochower Express] began to publish in 1938, again in collaboration with Lazar Kohan's Warszawer Ekspres. News about Czenstochow was printed on the last page.

 

Undzer Veg
[Our Way]

At the same time, the Zionists began to publish their own weekly under the name Undzer Veg, under the editorship of M. Tauszkewicz. A. H. Sziper, Dr. A. Bram, C. Rozenwajn, Y. Turner, Y. Klajner and others worked with him.

 

The Bundist Press

Arbeter Zeitung
[Workers Newspaper]

In 1923 the Bundist organization in Czenstochow began to publish its own

[Page 99]

weekly organ that announced as its purpose to serve Czenstochow, Zagłębie Dąbrowskie, (Będzin, Sosnowiec and Zawiercie) and the surrounding area. The Bundist weekly newspaper was published with certain breaks until the Second World War under the names Arbeter Zeitung and Czenstochower Veker [Czenstochower Alarm]. It published unceasingly in the printing shops of: B. Boczan, Aleje 6, cooperative printing shop, Kultura, A. Helfgot, Aleje 23 and M. Rozensztajn in Piotrkow Trybunalski. The first issue of Arbeter Zeitung was published on the 20th of February 1923. The Arbeter Zeitung was edited by Rafael Federman (now in America), with the close cooperation of Roza Kantor-Lichtnsztajn (now in America) and Yokheved Zuzman (perished in the Warsaw ghetto), teachers at the Jewish secular school.

Its most important co-workers were:

Yitzhak Pesakhzon (an old acquaintance), a pioneer in the socialist movement in Poland who recently had lived in Będzin and was murdered by the Nazi beasts during the Hilter rule in Będzin in 1943.

His last words to a thousand Jews who were led out of Będzin to the gas chambers were: “Know Jews that there are only a few hours left for you to live. Death awaits you soon. You have nothing to lose. The only thing left for you – resist. Do not let them lead you to the slaughter!”

The 70-year old Pesakhzon, from whose words would usually come wisdom through humor and whose words were loaded with sorrow and steel determination, spoke for seven minutes. The Nazis finally realized what he was saying to the Jews and a Nazi-bullet ended his life.

Yitzhak Samsonowicz and other Bundists stood at the head of the Jewish ghetto during the Hitler years and simultaneously were active in the underground movement. However, when he and others were arrested by the Gestapo, he was successful in saving himself. He was then active for a long time in Warsaw as a member of the central committee of the underground Bund in Poland.

Engineer Kh. Wilczinski and Dr. Emanuel Ringelblum and the lawyer Y. Wilczinski were active in the underground work in the concentration camps in Czenstochow. At the last minute before the liberation he [Kh. Wiczinski] was dragged away to Germany and he perished there.

Lawyer Zigmund Epsztajn (now in America), Yosef Rubinsztajn, Shmuel Frank, Moshe Lederman and other local workers from various trades and workshops.

It is worth remembering that almost all of the above-mentioned co-workers were considered the editors. At first they were dilettantes who took their first steps in journalism at this weekly. However, several of them immediately showed journalistic abilities and in time took part in various Yiddish newspapers in Poland.

Rafael Federman, who wrote under the name “Amicus,” mainly handled political, communal and professional questions. He wrote, among others, a longer serial article under the name “The decline of an idea,” about the liquidation of the Fareinikte party. After 1926, he came out publicly against the Pilsudski government, criticized the ostensible opposition of the Socialist Zionists to the government, spoke about the city economy, kehile [organized Jewish community] matters, school questions, the professional movement and issued demands to give amnesty to political arrestees, abolish night work for the bakers and so on. Yitzhak Pesakhzon specialized in themes of socialism and the Bund.

Yitzhak Samsonowicz wrote about various general political, communal and cultural themes.

Engineer Kh. Wilczinski wrote studies on literary themes, such as: about Romain Rolland for his 60th birthday, about Morris Winchevsky for his 70th birthday and others.

Lawyer Zigmund Epsztajn wrote under the name “Arenen” and discussed ideas about socialist problems and socialist economics.

Yosef Rubinsztajn, writing under the name Mogen Dovid [Shield of David], and Shmuel Frank wrote columns. Sh. Frank also wrote about the earlier struggles of the Jewish workers movement with rascals such as Moshe Foce and Yitzhak Szlize.

Moshe Lederman – about professional unions.

The Arbeter Zeitung also from time to time published articles by the comrades Yosef [Lestschinksy] Chmurner, B. Szefner, Yitzhak Lichtensztajn of Lodz, Arye Naumark. Of the reprinted articles, it is worthwhile to mention

[Page 100]

a longer article from the Forverts [Forward] by Sholem Asch about the Bund.

The Arbeter Zeitung ceased to exist after the editors Rafael Federman, Yitzhak Samsonowicz and Wilczinski left Czenstochow.

In 1938 the Bundist organ was revived. Dovid Klin, who came to Czenstochow then, began to publish a weekly newspaper under the name Czenstochower Veker [Czenstochower Alarm]. He filled the newspaper almost completely with his own articles, in addition to reprinting articles from the extensive Bundist press in Poland. However, Dovid Klin left Czenstochow that same year and moved to Warsaw and the newspaper ceased to be published. During the Hitler rule Dovid Klin was connected with the underground movement in general and with the Bund in particular. He now occupies an office in the current Polish government. In addition to this, he is a major in the Polish Army. The Czenstochower Veker was printed in the printing shop of S. Ofman, Aleje 8 and also in the printing shop of M. Rozensztajn and for a time was [a supplement] of the newspaper Piotrokower Veker [Piotrokow Alarm], which was edited by Yitzhak Samsonowicz. The Arbeter Zeitung also was a [supplement] newspaper of the Piotrokower Veker for a time when Yitzhak Samsonowicz worked as the secretary of the Presidium of the Piotrkow city hall.

 

Der Proletarier
[The Proletariat]

In 1925, after the unification of the proletariat movement in Czenstochow, when the Jewish professional unions organized at the Jewish cultural office were recognized as a national section of the local rada [council or committee], an attempt was made to publish a weekly newspaper as an organ of the “Council of the Professional Class Unions” (Jewish cultural office). Only two issues were published. The first – on the 4th of September 1925 and the second – on the 29th of September 1926. This publication was printed in the cooperative printing shop Kultur, later at A. Helfman in Czenstochow, Aleje 23.

This publication was edited by Rafael Federman.

Here is the content of the two issues:

The Jewish worker demands only new elections for the city council (declaration of the Bund faction on the city council); Will we allow the destruction of the Jewish worker schools? – by Y. Samson (Samsonowicz); Should a new Folks-hoys [people's house] be built? – by Rafael Federman; Dr Boris Yafa (at his death) – by Rafael; About the local sick fund – by a councilman; About the Jewish cultural office; What is happening in the professional unions?; From the book table – civic and worker sports – by H. Wilczinski, publisher of Kultur, Czenstochow 1925; Return to freedom? – Amicus; A commandment from the time (about the founding schools for adults) – by a worker (Wilczinski); Raise the flag of the professional movement – by Rafael Federman; Who demands an accounting? – by a resident; The work of the aid campaign (statement from the Jewish cultural office in Czenstochow); Public declaration from the professional unions; Beating Hoshanos [willows – used during a ritual on Sukkous – the Feast of Tabernacles] – feature article by Heimish [homey, familiar] (Yosef Rubinsztajn); treasury report from the executive of the Jewish cultural office in Czenstochow.

 

The Polish and Polish-Yiddish Press

Two Polish daily newspapers were published in Czenstochow: Goniec Częstochowski [Czenstochower Messenger] and Gazeta Częstochowska [Czenstochower Gazette]. The editor of Gazeta, Adam Peczerkowski, a son of the lawyer, was mentioned in connection with the first pogrom in Czenstochow in 1902 and was the main agitator in the second pogrom in 1923.

Both newspapers were anti-Semitic and yet they were supported by Jewish advertisements and Jewish leaders.

The Goniec published a special attack when the news became public that a daily newspaper in Yiddish was beginning to be published in Czenstochow. This frightened the Polish readers that the new jargonowkes [those who spoke jargon – a negative description of Yiddish] would defend the interests of the Jewish merchants and large industrialists, although the latter only employed Christian workers and their relationship to Yiddish was not any better, but not worse than Goniec.

In addition to the constant struggle against Jewish commerce with the slogan, swoj do swego [to his own] and their constant agitation – the two Polish newspapers published notices and articles against the performance of Yiddish theater in Czenstochow and in general wrote with hate about every Jewish cultural activity.

In order to counter the poisonous anti-Semitic propaganda of Goniec, the Jewish manufacturer, Zigmund Markowicz, co-owner of the Gnashiner factories, undertook an initiative in 1924 to publish a new Polish daily in Czenstochow at his own expense. This newspaper, under the name Głos Powszechny. [Our Universal Voice], was published for about 10 months, from October 1924 to August 1925, under the editorship of Aleksander Haftka and with the cooperation of the popular columnist Marczin Laski and news writer Yakov Bem. After Markowicz refused to subsidize the newspaper because of large deficits, it was taken over by Sziemjaticki and published under the new name Ekspres Częstochowski [Czenstochower Express].


[Page 101]

Jewish Sports Movement

by W. Gliksman, A. Chrabolowski & R. Federman

The Jewish Sports and Touring Union

The sports movement also arose in Czenstochow as in all of Poland as a result of the upswing in Jewish communal life, which began at the end of the 19th century and found an expression in a Zionist and socialist orientation.

In 1913 under tsarist rule, Lira [literary and musical society] formed a group with the purpose of founding a sports union. Belonging to the group, among others, were: Avner, A. Gonszerowicz, M. Brum, A. Chabalowski, D. Krak. A performance was arranged in the Lira hall on behalf of the group. A request for permission, signed by Henrik Markusfeld, was given to the Piotrkow governor. Moshe Fajnkind of Piotrkow, who had entry to the powers that be, was the lobbyist, but no permission was received.

However, the idea of the sports movement penetrated even deeper among the Czenstochow young people. In 1915 a group of sportsmen, among whom was the initiator of the sports group at Lira, agreed with the managing committee of the Artisans' Club about creating a sports section at the club's premises at Orgodowe Street 22 where there was an inexpensive kitchen.

The first founding meeting had to be postponed for another time because the young people who attended demanded that the deliberations be held in Yiddish.

W. Gostinski, Z. Szlezinger, L. Goldszajder, Engineer M. Milsztajn, Sh. Krauskop, M. Jeszaiewicz, M. Brum, A. Gonszorowicz [spelled Gonszerowicz above], Kh. Kremski, Y. Rozencwajg, H. Lajzerowicz, Sh. Halter, M. Sztajnic belonged to the first managing committee of the Sport and Touring Union. Henrik Markusfeld was elected as the honorary chairman.

The Union became very popular among the young and the number of members immediately reached 500.

The Union joined the Central Federation of Jewish Sports and Touring Unions in Lodz. At the end of 1916 two delegates, Yosef Aronowicz and Maks Brum, represented Czenstochow at the founding conference of the Union in Lodz.

The first appearance of the Sports and Touring Union took place on Lag B'Omer [holiday celebrated on the 18th day of Iyar – falling in April, May or June with picnics, outings and bonfires]. Since then the sportsmen have marched through the Czenstochow streets with their flags and orchestra every Lag B'Omer. The Jewish population of Czenstochow applauded every appearance of the sportsmen with enthusiasm.

 


Members of the Sports and Touring Club with the Managing Committee

 

[Page 102]

On the 12th of August 1917 a competition between the sports clubs of Czenstochow, Tomaszow, Bedzin, and Sosnowiec took place in Czenstochow. M. Krakowiak received first prize for gymnastics.

H. Halthausn led the sport exercises until the end of 1918. Later Y. Krakowiak, who graduated from an instructor's course at the Central Union in Lodz, was the gymnastics instructor.

In 1916-1917 a dramatic section and a reading foom with the daily newspapers and many periodical sports publications was in existence at the Sports and Touring Union.

The question of whether the management should be carried out in Yiddish or in Hebrew was the sharpest point of conflict in the Union. The majority of the Czenstochower Sports and Touring Union was for Yiddish and therefore the Union refrained from joining the Lodz Central Union for a time.

The activity of the Union was paralyzed during the years 1919-1920 because of the Polish-Soviet War and the requisition of its premises by the Polish regime.

In 1921 the activity was revived. A new managing committee was elected with A. Peretz at its head.

In 1925 the Union decided to join the Bilic Makabi[1] Union. The left-Yiddishist members voted against this decision.

From the middle of 1922 to May 1925 the chairman of the Union was Dr. Hipolit Gajsler; from May 1925 until August 1926 – Chaim Dawidowicz.

In 1925 the Union celebrated its 10th anniversary. Delegates from Warsaw, Sosnowiec, Bendin, Zawiercie, Wielun, Bilic, Katowice, Tomaszow and Dziedzice came to the celebration. A parade through the Czenstochow streets took place, a tournament and race for the guests.

The Union also distributed an anniversary publication, edited by Mendel Asz, about the history of sports in Czenstochow.

During the year of the anniversary, the managing committee of the Czenstochow Sports Union consisted of Chaim Dawidowicz, chairman; Sh. Chajutin, vice chairman; A. Peretz, H. Lajzerowicz, H. Tajchner; B. Kurland, L. Kriger, C. Lichensztajn, F. Kirszenblat; M. Kremski, Y. Rozencwajg, M. Sztajnic. The chairman of the anniversary committee was Sh. Czajutin; chairman of the finance committee was Osiasz Win.

A soccer section was in existence at the Union. In 1923 the union opened its own sports area for gymnastic exercises and light athletics.

In 1924 the unification with the “Sport” club took place. The union was connected to the schools and gymnazies [secondary schools] with the purpose of drawing the young into the sports movement. At the same time, a musical orchestra was created at the Union and a great national gathering was organized with the participation of Sholem Asch.

In 1928 the Union joined the group, Yardena [Jordan], and a division was opened in Krzepic. During the same year a cycling contest was arranged and three representatives of the Union, Sh. Chajutin, L. Wajs and H. Szaja took part in the Krakow conference that created a Jewish council for physical education.

In January 1929 one of the most active workers at the Union, Sh (Shmaryhu) Chajutin, who had occupied the office of chairman from 1926 on, died. His death weakened the activities of the Union for a time.

 


The cyclist group of the Sports and Touring Union

 

The office of chairman was occupied by the lawyer, Leib Asz, in August 1928. Under his direction the Union again developed widespread activities.

In 1933 the unification of the Warta Sports Club and the Askola Club took place under the name Sport Touring Union Makabi. The managing committee, that led the unification consisted of

[Page 103]

Leib Asz, the lawyer – chairman, Sh. Nemirowski, Dr. D. Kohan, Dr. B. Epsztajn – vice chairmen, engineer S. Kisin, Miss H. Trajman – secretary, A. Szarand – sports director, L. Wajs – manager, R. Bril, M. Horowicz, Y. Fajga and N. Tajchner.

 

Askola Sports Club

The Askola Sports Club was founded in 1922 by a group of young people with the name Hatzvi [The Deer]. C. Fajner, the Trembocki brothers, the Berkowicz brothers, the Miska brothers. H. Koplowicz and M. Tauziewicz were the leaders of the club.

In 1925 the club at first had the name Makabi, but according to a directive of the Polish Football [soccer] Union, two sports unions could not have the same name in one county – the name was changed to Askala.

In 1928 a bicycle division was organized by the energetic chairman of the Sports Club, L. Herc, which took part in the race for the championship in Czenstochow in 1930.

At the same time, a dramatic division was created at the club under the leadership of S. Frank and L. Orbach, who carried out the performances.

Askola, which had belonged to the Makabi Union since 1931, first proposed the idea of unifying all three sports clubs into Makabi.

 

Jewish Tour and Sports Union – Makabi

The negotiations between the two sport clubs and a tour union – Warta – lasted a long time until they united in Makabi. The S.T.U. had a folksy, national character from the beginning – Warta was ruled over the years by the assimilated segment [of the population].

The chairman of the Union was Yakov Rozenberg, the chairman of the kehile [organized Jewish community]. The vice-chairmen – Dr. L. Goldman and the lawyer, Leib Asz.

In August 1933 the HaKoyekh [The Strength] Sports Club, with 23 members, joined Makabi Sports Club. The members of the HaKoyekh managing committee were: H. Zajdman and W. Owietczko.

The following sections were active at Makabi:

Light athletics and boxing, under the leadership of A. Szmarard.

Gymnastics – under the leadership of H. Szaja and Y. Rabinowicz.

Football (soccer) – under the leadership of Ferens and, later, M. Rozencwajg.

Games of sports – under the leadership of G. Epsztajn and later Y. Fajga.

Ping Pong – under the leadership of A. Horowicz.

The most active were the football and gymnastic sections.

Makabi took part in the work in the work of the sports colony, Kfar Makabi, in Eretz-Yisroel.

In 1934 a ski division was created at Makabi.

Binder and Szajn of Czenstochow took part in the boxing exhibition of Polish Makabi at the second Makabi games in Tel Aviv.

L. Wajz, R. Bril and H. Birnholc – sports workers, Y. Binder, Y. Zilberberg and L. Przyrowski - boxers, Miss E. Sztajer, H. Trajman and H. Goldsztajn – sports games, - A. Kaplan and H. Blausztajn – body exercises, graduated from sports course instructions and various sports camps.

Medical supervision of the athletes was carried out by the doctors, L. Goldman, B. Tenenbaum, D. Kagan, B. Epsztajn and S. Nowak.

Makabi organized a Makabi academy in 1934 with the participation of the vice chairman of the Makabi Union M. Dikes, a literary evening with Moshe Braderzon and several concert evenings.

In 1935 Makabi celebrated the 20th anniversary of Jewish sports in Czenstochow and published an anniversary publication under the editorship of the lawyer, Leib Asz, with pictures of the manager, sports activists and members.


Translator's footnote

  1. Makabi is a Zionist sports organization that organizes sports competitions for Jewish athletes similar to the Olympics. Return


[Page 103]

The New Synagogue

by A. Koifman

In 1834, 5594, the young Czenstochower kehile [organized Jewish community] had only one small synagogue and a small house of prayer in which they prayed during the winter because it was too cold in the synagogue. The population increased over time and the community needed a bigger house of prayer.

[Page 104]

At the initiative of the head of the kehile [organized Jewish community], Leibele Kohn, a meeting was called on Rosh Khodesh [start of the new month] Adar 5594 in the home of the then dozor [member of the synagogue council] Gershon Landau (“the large Gershon”) at which it was decided to erect a large synagogue with a women's section. A committee was elected to satisfy the plan consisting of the following people: Gershon Segal Landau (the same Gershon), Yitzhak Leib Bermanski, Yehuda Leib Tenenbaum, Ayzik Shimeon Ginsberg and Meir Majzel.

The same day a call was made through the religious court, which consisted of the judges, Reb Moshe Majzel (Durnfater Rabbi), Reb Nusan Oderberg and Reb Yakov Eli Rozen that all Jews should gather on the 7th of Adar [18 March] in the synagogue for a meeting about the building of new syngagoue.

The second Shamas [sexton] Lipman Pukacz, as was the custom at that time, went through the city with a synagogue hammer banging on all of the Jewish doors and windows telling them to [answer the call to] come to the religious court.

The meeting on the designated evening was very impressive; all of the Czenstochow Jews gathered. The religious judges as well as the then well-known rich man and scholar Rabbi Yona Landau (Czenstochower Rabbi) gave warm speeches and all of the Jews were asked to donate for the purpose according to their ability.

 


The Rabbi Moshe Halter, of blessed memory, giving a eulogy at the grave of Rabbi Nukhem Asz, may the memory of a righteous man be blessed

 

The sermons made a strong impression on those gathered. A large number of Jews enrolled as members of the house of prayer and many donations flowed in. The necessary sum was collected over a short time and the house of prayer was built. It existed until the Nazis destroyed it.

 

The Meeting to Rebuild the House of Prayer A Hundred Years Later

A meeting was called at the initiative of Rabbi Reb Nukhush Asz on the 100-year anniversary of the building of the house of prayer in Czenstochow. A gathering was called on Thursday, the 25th of Adar [12th of March] 5694 (1934) at which it was decided to rebuild and enlarge the house of prayer.

 


The Czenstochower Rabbi, Rabbi and Sage Reb Nukhem Asz, may the memory of a righteous man be blessed

 

The committee that was created for this purpose consisted of:
The Rabbi, the head of the community, may he live a long life.
Honorary chairman – Leib Sojka. Treasurer – Yosef Wajnrib.

Building Commission

Chairman: Henrik Szpalten.

Members: Mendl Kapinski, Yosef Wajnrib, Yitzhak Ber Rotbard, Yosef Krojze, Ahron Berkman.

Publicity Commission:
Shimkha Jubas, Henrik Szpalten, Avraham Gliksman, Yosef Badasz community spokesman, Moshe Asz.
It was decided at the same gathering to turn to the Czenstochower kehile [organized Jewish community] about a commission to enlarge the house of prayer, build a second story for a women's section and to build a new hall for study.

It was decided to write a sefer-Torah [Torah scroll] with the name Hatorah Vahamidrash [The Torah and the Commentary] in order to memorialize the hundredth anniversary of the old house of study in which all Czenstochower Jews would have a share.

Two pinkasim [register books] were created: one to record the names of those who bought letters in the new Torah scroll; the second with the names of the contributors to the remodeling of the house of prayer.

(Extract from the booklet: Beis-haMedrash 5594-5694 [House of Prayer 1834-1934], published by Avraham Gliksman, Czenstochow, 1934.

 

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