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The Community's Official Newspaper (cont.)

[Page 31]

kat031.gif No caption (section from Jewish newspaper) [44 KB]
No caption (section from Jewish newspaper)
[Official Gazette Israelite community in Katowice]

From the article we learn that Eliasz Abrahamer made unusual contributions to the community in a many areas. He established such a successful community tax system that the community was able to provide burial services and [its needy members with] physicians' services. He made important progress towards establishing a legal basis for the community's position and made major contributions in the field of formal and informal education in the city. No details are given about his private life. It is also impossible to determine which articles in the newspaper were penned by Abrahamer and which by others. With the exception of a few articles, primarily those by the Community's Rabbis, all articles are unsigned. Only occasionally do the letters A.E. appear under some of these articles.

Each issue of the newspaper contains between four and 10 pages; the larger ones were usually issued on the eve of major holidays. In general, each issue starts with an announcement of the time of synagogue services, specifying the exact time for the reading of the Torah and the Rabbi's sermon. Often, warnings appear about proper decorum in the synagogue. Many years later, the Katowice natives now living in Israel still recall the exceptional order and the G-D fearing atmosphere that prevailed in the synagogue.

Almost every issue of the newspaper contained a sermon or article by one of the community Rabbis.

The vibrancy of community life is reflected in the newspaper and it is clear that the community had access to lectures and articles whose high quality made them appropriate for inclusion in any scientific journal dealing with Jewish life. For example, articles by Rabbi Kalman Chameides: “About Judaism - Slander”; “To Live Means to Act”; and “Work in Judaism”. By Rabbi Mordechai Vogelmann: “Is the Birthday Celebration a Jewish Custom?”; Isaac and Avimelech”; and “The Leader”. Articles of this caliber may be found in almost every issue of the newspaper.

The newspaper also reported the social life of the community. The social, sport and youth, and economic organizations published their announcements and activity reports, and together this represented a very diverse and rich activity. In addition to the official reports, one can also learn about the exciting Community life from the commercial advertisements. These reflect a very vigorous business life of enterprising people who changed this mining town into a large vibrant city despite the fact that Jews constituted only 10% of the city's population.

It should not come as a surprise that in most cases the newspaper did not reflect events that were occurring in the world at large, even if these events had a Katowice connection. Thus, for example, there is no mention of the well known Zionist Revisionist Council meeting during which the party split. On the other hand, other important events that occurred during that time, e.g., the expulsion of Polish Jews from Germany, are reflected in the newspaper. This may have been because many of these Jews came to Katowice itself and the community received them with open arms and an open heart. Many of the events and announcements that were published appear to have a direct impact on the destiny of Polish Jews in Germany.

Likewise, many of the incidents that found an expression in the newspaper were connected with anti-Semitism. Anti-Semitism raised its ugly head in Poland during the second half of the 30's; there was an increasing number of assaults on Jews and of slander against them in the Polish press.

Even in those days there were quite a few Katowice Jews who left the community by converting. The names of such individuals are enumerated In many issues. It is not difficult to guess their ultimate fate in the coming days.

kat033.jpg A view of old Katowice [35 KB]
A view of old Katowice

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