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[Page 65]

The First Russian Revolution


[Page 77]

The Jewish Shoemakers and Huta Polish Workers

by Moshe Cybulkiewicz (Barranquilla, Colombia)

Translated from Yiddish by David Lukowiecki

In year 1905, when the Jewish shoemaker and tailor workers mastered the town, they also organized the Żelechów Polish shoemakers. This evoked a great dissatisfaction from gentile masters and they wanted to settle up with us. We found out about it and asked for help from the Polish workers in Huta.

Our group hired the wagon from Mr. Leibish Hirz and left for Huta. On the way, in the Jarczew forest, we noticed that we are being followed. We asked Mr. Leibish to chase the horse, but the wagon owner answered that he wouldn't kill the horse because of us.

We saw that it's getting worst, so we got off the wagon and noticed that the Polish masters with Police are already close to us. We began firing from our revolvers. Our adversary responded, and in such way we got to Huta.

We told the Polish workers what's happening in town. They promised to help us. On the next morning, 200 Huta workers came together with us, they made a demonstration and later also warned the Polish masters that they shouldn't think that the strikes are a “Jewish” invention and that they shouldn't bother anyone, if not it will be bad.

For several days it was calmed. The Police acted like they didn't see how posters were laid out, but then the Russian cavalry, Cossacks, appeared in Żelechów and arrested guilty and innocents. When the military left, the movement continued in their way.

For the Polish shoemakers we brought special Polish public–speakers. A student from the medical faculty came, precisely from Zelechów, the son of Doctor Michalowski. I knew him because we were neighbors and played as children. The name of his party was then “Bogdan”.

We called for a meeting under the chapel, Jews called it “the little unclean place”. For the meeting we also invited a Huta worker called Biernacki. Not a bad public–speaker at all.

After Bogdan's speech, the Polish workers got enthusiasm and wanted to kiss the hands of the public–speaker. Cigarettes were smoked in the darkness. Night was falling, Biernacki approached Michalowski, called him by his name and presented himself. Michalowski didn't say anything else, only grabbed my hand and left with me. On the way he told me that Biernacki is a provocateur, he worked in a great factory and there he provoked the movement, the party is looking for him. After the meeting, Biernacki disappeared from Zelechow. He was later shot somewhere in the Austrian border. Michalowski's speech impressed the Polish workers. We made a strike together with them.

In that time, a representative of the General Council came again. We held a meeting at Israel Grajcer's place on the top floor. In the middle of the meeting the Police came. It was a dark evening. The Police was afraid to go upstairs and told us to go down. We went down and began to run. Police fired and Israel Grajcer was wounded.

We lead the movement in such way until the later revolution period arrived, when repressions started in all Russia. In Żelechów, 18 people were arrested, including myself as well and we were sent to Garwolin. There we were interrogated by the prosecutor and all were released. Later it appeared that he was a Socialist himself and was released from his office.


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