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[Page 345]

Czenstochower
in Eretz-Yisroel

 

Czenstochower in Eretz-Yisroel

Around 2,000 people from Czenstochow are located in Eretz-Yisroel [the land of Israel] today. The first group of pioneers came in 1919. They took part in all branches of work and went through all of the difficulties demanded in building Eretz-Yisroel.

In 1925 the storm of emigration from Poland to Eretz-Yisroel increased and many Czenstochower also left for Eretz-Yisroel with the so-called Grabski Aliyah [the fourth wave of emigration, named for the Polish Minister of Finance, Wladyslaw Grabski who introduced an anti-Jewish tax policy]. The Czenstochow emigrants, who stayed together the entire time and when possible helped one another, met together for the first time at the home of Leib Asher (Umglik [when he lived in Czenstochow]), then in Reb Moshe Halter's café. The Czenstochower Union was born at this meeting and its first chairman was Comrade Eisajewicz (the Wolier Rabbi).

Aba Lubrowicz, a Zionist activist from Czenstochow, was among the first who built his own house here. Working on the construction were only those from Czenstochow. The Histadrut [organization of trade unions in Israel] organized a group of five Czenstochow workers under the leadership of Godl Frajtag, one of the active Poalei-Zionists [Marxist-Zionists] from Czenstochow and called it the “Frajtag Kibbutz [group].” The other comrades from the Kibbutz were: Pik, Oderberg, Kaminski, Benclowicz. The additional workers also were Czenstochower.

Helmund Buchenhaim, a construction entrepreneur in Czenstochow, a German, lived among the Czenstochower group then. He also came to work in the kibbutz. The same Helmund Buchenhaim became the commissar over all of the factories in Czenstochow when the Nazis occupied Poland in 1939.

In 1927 a crisis began in the country. Construction work had ceased and many in the group, particularly those who were well-to-do, began to return to Poland. The Czenstochower Union then organized mutual aid for its members. A new committee was created under the chairmanship of Gamalinski. The committee turned to Czenstochow, to the Czenstochower in America for support. An aid committee was created in Czenstochow and help arrived twice. Worker groups and collectives of various trades were founded: a group of carpenters with Moshe Zilberszac at the head; a group of galoshes makers who repaired galoshes; a group of unskilled laborers and so on. Little by little conditions got better. From workers arose clerks and small entrepreneurs. Larger workshops developed out of artisan cooperatives. More wealthy entrepreneurs became industrialists. A celluloid factory also was created here with the participation of Sztencl, Yakov Fefer, Handlsman, Gotlib and others.

It is worth recording those enterprises that had a certain significance for the Eretz-Yisroel industry: Karp's factory that produced agricultural tools and during the war its work for military purposes. Up to 44 workers were employed in the factory, a large number of them from Czenstochow. The haberdashery factory of Yakov Gotlib, a locksmith and mechanic by trade, a graduate of the Czenstochow Artisans' School. He also employed many from Czenstochow and himself gave a great deal of time to the Czenstochower landsmanschaft [organization of people from the same town]. His wife, Chava, née Richter, helped him in the communal activity.

Recently, weaving and knitwear industries developed in Eretz-Yisroel in which Czenstochower are represented in large numbers.

In addition to the small workshops that work alone or with individual helpers, there also are present a few large enterprises, for example the factory of Tzwi

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Szpalten, a good organizer and also active in other areas, who came here during the war, as well as: Lewit, Mendl Gilbert and others.

Moshe Zilberszac (carpentry shop), Sztibl, Henekh Kalka from Radomsko, a brother of Shimkha Kalka from Czenstochow acquired good reputations among the artisan enterprises. Landsman, a graduate of the Artisans' School in Czenstochow, is known for his mechanical locksmith shop in Jerusalem. He is the chairman of the Czenstochower Union in Jerusalem and a member of the national committee. The Sosowski brothers, also activists in the Czenstochower Union, worked in the carpentry branch in Jerusalem. Meir Fajnrajch, a former member of the Socialist-Zionists and a graduate of the Czenstochower Artisans' School, has a mechanical locksmith shop in Haifa. The artisans Blum and Amsterdam from Czenstochow also are in Haifa. Yehoshua Kalka is among the entrepreneurs. The Kalka brothers also employ many Czenstochower at various sections of their trade. Ariali, [known as] Kaluszinski [in Czenstochow], occupies an esteemed place in the printing section.

Simkha Rajch, an active member of the Poalei-Zion [Marxist-Zionists] in Czenstochow, is known for the manufacture of stone and marble, which developed a widespread market here.

Represented in trade are: Mos, Kohn, Gewercman, Hacherman and others. Godl Fajertag also founded the first tea factory, Kras. Before the First World War, his tea factory sent tea to America and to other nations. His firm carries the names Kras number 72 or Kras number 93.

More than in all other areas, the Czenstochower excelled in agriculture and gardening and this was thanks to the Czenstochow gardening farm that graduated many tradesmen in whom Czenstochow could take pride. Buchman, a student of the gardening school, is the only gardener in Tel Aviv. Many Czenstochower, students from the gardening school also are found as members of the moyshavus [cooperative agricultural communities] and kibbutzim [collective communities, often agricultural] or Halutzim [pioneers]. The Czenstochower who are involved with planting orange groves are Wolfowicz, Szacher, Lipski, Kongreci, Zaksonhaus, Pik, Goldsztajn, Gewercman and others. Shoshona Czenstochowska is well-known for her magnificent and theoretical knowledge in the area of tropical plants.

Many Czenstochower who could not get used to agricultural work, learned trades and were employed independently or worked in small enterprises. A number with energy reached the universities in Jerusalem and Haifa and continued their studies and received diplomas under the most difficult conditions. The Haifa engineers who graduated in this way were: Lipinski, a son of Dr. Lipinski, and Wilinger. Both served in the ranks of the allied armies as engineers.

Thus one meets Czenstochower all over, in the leading institutions, in agriculture, building the most beautiful houses in Tel Aviv, at office work and so on. Shimkha Rajch, well-known to all, could be found decorating houses with marble, Feitl Szmulewicz – installing glass in houses, Sztibel – finishing with the carving work, such as doors and windows. Many sides [of paper] could be filled out with the names of Czenstochower who built and are building the community in Eretz Yisroel.

Three rabbis in Tel Aviv were from Czentochow: Rabbi Szaiewicz, of blessed memory (he died in 1941), Rabbi Sztencel [and] Rabbi Tamar. In the course of years a Czenstochower: Klajnman (Pesl the flour merchant's grandson) was the chief of police. Yakov (Krimalowski's grandson] also was a sergeant in the same police force. Other policemen from Czenstochow were Adler, Fridman, Asher Szwarcbaum (Yehiel Szwarcbaum's son, First Aleye), Zilbersztajn and others.

Wolhendler, a Czenstochower, fell in Haifa in 1939 in a heroic fight against the attacking Arabs. Two from Czenstochow still stand at the head of the Poalei-Mizrakhi [social democratic organization] today: Shragi, Feiwelowicz [in Czenstochow] and Leslau Roizen. Shragi is also in the executive of the Jewish Agency in Jerusalem. Szajewicz is a representative of the Agency in Teheran, Persia [Iran]. Today he is called Dr. Moshe Yashi (son of the Woler rabbi).

Czenstochower Jewry gave great respect to Bronislaw Huberman, who created the symphonic orchestra [now the Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra] with a magnificent building in Tel Aviv. It is the most beautiful that has been created in the entire Near East.

At the outbreak of the war, many Czenstochower among many thousands of others, voluntarily reported for Palestinian military service, such as

[Page 347]

Potaszewicz, Kartuz, Jakubowicz, Bril. Yitzhak Zelkowic, born in Czentochow in 1898, entered the French Foreign Legion. When France fell, he returned to Eretz Yisroel and belonged to De Gaulle's faction.

When the Australians came to Eretz Yisroel, Sztajnic, the youngest son of Sztajnic the leather merchant at the new market came, with them. Berkowicz (Layzer Berkowicz is his father) came with the South Africans. Many Czenstochower members of the military came with the Polish military from Soviet Russia, among them several officers, such as Dr. Kon, Dr. Fajnman, Bochenek and others.

Godl Frajtag, Yakov Jaskel, Fajtl Szmulewicz, Szczekacz and others took an active part in the land distribution organization that was created during war time under the name, Mishmar Ezrahi [Civil Guard].

The Czenstochower Irgun (branch) of the Association of Immigrants from Poland (Association of Polish Jews in Eretz Yisroel) was the first and the strongest (now there are 40 divisions). Dr. Hurwicz, a son of the Czenstochow chain manufacturer, stands at the head of the general organization. Szmulewicz is vice-chairman. Others who occupy esteemed places in the leadership and in the council of the organization are: Szpalten, Wajdenfeld. Yehuda, Fejwelowicz, Efriam Shmuel, Yakov Gotlib, Mrs. Rozencwajg, Dovid Gruszka, Trajman, Karp, Arieli (Kalaszynski), Lewit [and] Henekh Girenberg.

Dawidowicz is on the iriya (city council) of Tel Aviv. Shmuel Efriam [in the previous paragraph his name is given as Efriam Shmuel] is in Histadrut [General Organization of Workers]. Feitl Szmulewicz joined the artisan organizations. He also took part in the Hebrew and Yiddish press (Neie Welt [New World]) with articles about artisans.

The Czenstochower also occupied an active and influential place during the Passover activities (contributions to the poor for Passover) – Godl Frajtag, Dr. Hurwicz, Mrs. Hurwicz, Mrs. Rajngold, Tzwi Szpalten.

In 1939 the Association of Immigrants from Poland founded a division under the name Vaad HaMochod [Council of Unity] whose task was to help the Jews from Poland who survived Hitler's gangsters in the nations where help could reach and, particularly, to give the first help and provide work for those who survived [and came to] Eretz Yisroel. Dr. Hurwicz is the leader of Vaad HaMochod. Feitl Szmulewicz leads the Czenstochower division. Others from Czenstochow who help with this work are Shmuel Efriam, Wajdenfeld, Kon, Szpalten, Frajtag, Yakov Jaskel, Dovid Gruszka [and] Lewit. With their help there was success in collecting the addresses of Czenstochower in the Soviet Union. About 85 such addresses have been collected so far. The Czenstochower Irgun sent a large number of packages with food and clothing. Those who themselves contributed large sums of money for this purpose were Karp, Frajtag, Jaskel, Avraham Gotlib, Yakov Gotlib, Ahron Mas, the Kon brothers and their father, Chaim.

The “Czenstochower Day” was a large undertaking to help the Czenstochower victims of Hitlerism. That evening, a sum of 75 pounds was collected and in addition 200 packages were sent to those who did not have any relatives in Eretz Yisroel.

“Czenstochower Day” in Jerusalem was arranged with the participation of Dr. Hirshberg, Dr. Josef Kruk and Avraham Izbicki. A large sum of money also was collected there for the purpose.

Every anniversary of the outbreak of the war, the 1st of September, the Vaad HaMochod arranges a flower day under the name Yom Yaades Polin (a day for the Jews from Poland). Women play the main role and, in general, surpass the men in the matter of collecting money. The names of the Czenstochower women who take part in the flower day every year are Mrs. Grinberg, Szegin, Gotlib, Frajlech, Moszkowicz, Blechsztajn, Herszlikowicz, Wajcenblat, Leslau, Rajch, Szczekacz, Hocherman, Marczun, Lewit, Bornsztajn, Rozencwajg, Rywka Fajnrajch, Zajdman, Kalka, Izenberg, Prajs, Yekl, Bornsztajn, Chana-Tzwi-Chaim, Propenatur, Podamski and others.

When Dr. Kruk arrived in Eretz Yisroel, the Czenstochower in Tel Aviv arranged a gathering for him and he was elected honorary chairman of the Czenstochower Irgun (division). Representatives from various other divisions of the Association of Immigrants from Poland also were represented at the gathering. Jerusalem and Haifa were represented by Wolf Landsman and Wzowski. Dr. Kruk described his experiences of his last days in Poland and presented memories of the years of his youth in Czenstochow. The evening made a deep impression on everyone. Later, more evenings with Dr. Kruk took place.


[Page 348]

A Meeting of Czenstochower in Tel Aviv

by M. Smulewicz, G. Freitag

Sunday, the 3rd of March 1946, a mass meeting of the Czenstochower landsleit [people from the same town] took place in Tel Aviv.

The meeting was arranged in one of the largest premises in the city, the Habima Society; the hall was fully packed with people. Several hundred landsleit took part in the meeting.

The hall presented an interesting picture that mirrored the former Czenstochow, grey–haired heads, old Jews who had been here in Palestine for many years, people from all strata of the population, workers, employees and manufacturers (yes, we also had “our own” manufacturers in Tel Aviv). Everyone came to hear the reports about the condition of our brothers and sister there in distant Czenstochow. There was enormous interest. Everyone was thirsty to receive news about those who survived through chance.

 

Cze348a.jpg

Managing committee members of the Czenstochower Union in Tel Aviv
(Khavri Heuer Czenstochowim b'Tel Aviv)

Sitting from right to left: Y. Yeshkol, E. Szpalten, N. Frajtag, Sz. Rajnwald
Standing from right to left: Dr. A. Horowicz, Re. Lesloi, A. Gotlib, Czecmer, F. Szmulewicz

 

And therefore, many landsleit could be found in the hall who live in the provinces [countryside] and gave their time to the meeting. Before the meeting began one could encounter scenes where people actually cried with great joy that after so many years of not seeing each other, they had met again. At this opportunity, everyone poured out their bitter heart and tears ran when an old woman said that, alas, of her eight children in Czenstochow no one survived. A young halutz [pioneer], who arrived in Eretz–Yisroel just before the outbreak of the war, said that he remains alone and lonely like a stone. No one survived from his large family. And thus, they shared the appalling news until a ring from the chairman, who called on all those assembled to take their seat.

 

Cze348b.jpg

The first group of Czenstochower in Tel Aviv [1919]

Among others: Gerichter, F. Wajcblat, Dr. Horowicz, Gamulinki, Rajchman, Horowiczik

 

The meeting was opened by Mr. Lewit (a son–in–law of the Magid [preacher] of Klobuck); he greeted those assembled and read a heartbreaking letter, which had just arrived from the Czenstochower Jewish Committee.

The first speaker was Dr. Hirszberg, the former preacher and rabbi at the New Synagogue [in Czenstochow]. He spoke about the tragedy of the refugees, because not long ago he found himself in the same situation, and he appealed on behalf of our brothers and sisters in Czenstochow for support for the charity activities that were being carried out by the local committee.

Dr. Josef Kruk also spoke to the same matter. He read several letters that recently were received at his address. He turned to those assembled to spread [the news about] the Czenstochower Almanac that would soon be published in America.

The last [speaker] was a soldier from the Jewish Brigade, Ezriel Jakubowicz, who

[Page 349]

Cze349a.jpg
 
Cze349b.jpg

Managing Committee members of the Czenstochower Union in Jerusalem
(Khavri Heuer Czenstchowim b'Yerushalayim)

Sitting from right to left: F. Zuzowski, Dr. Josef Kruk, W. Landman
Standing from right to left: Sh. Zuzowski, N. Beserglik, A. Zuzowski, D. Zuzowski
 
National Committee of Czenstochower in Eretz–Yisroel

Standing from right to left: Dr. Y. Horowicz, Y. Gotlib, C. Spalten, F. Szmulewicz, P. Zubski
Sitting from right to left: W. Landman, Dr. J. Kruk and Y. Danciger
 
Cze349c.jpg
 
Cze349d.jpg

Representatives of the Irgoen Olei Czenstochow
[Organization of Immigrants from Czenstochow] in Haifa

Sitting from right to left: Blum, Danciger, Fajnreich
Standing, from right to left: Y. Goldberg, Windman, Borzykowski
 
A glass of tea with Czenstochower in Haifa
 
Cze349e.jpg
 
Cze349f.jpg

A group of Czenstochower in Eretz–Yisroel in 1926
 
The first group of Czenstochower in Haifa in 1926

Among others: Y. Danciger and his wife, A. Szwarcbaum and his wife, Meir Fajnrajch and his wife, the brothers Yehiel and Yakov Klajner, Windman

[Page 350]

visited Czenstochow in December 1945. He brought a living greeting from the remnant of Jewry of the great Jewish community that still remained there. He spoke precisely about how Czenstochow looked after the “liberation.” He spoke of the institutions that still existed there and about communal life in general. The greeting, in general, was a sad one, more terrible and more frightening than had been imagined.

Jakubowicz also spoke about the hundreds of Czenstochower whom he met during his sojourn in Europe, in various countries and camps. The situation was in most parts difficult; there were many present who were very hungry for bread and were without shoes and clothing during the winter. Their only hope was to emigrate to Eretz–Yisroel or other countries, because there was no way back to Poland. Previously they were murdered by the Nazis and now the same appears before them at the hands of the Poles.

The meeting was ended with warm greetings being sent to our brothers in Czenstochow and all over the world.

A great deal of money was collected on the spot for this purpose [aiding the survivors].

The meeting left a strong impression on all participants.

 

Cze350.jpg

Documents from Czenstochower organizations in America and Canada

 

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