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[Page 210]

About the Illustrated Almanac of Zaglembie

Translated by Bill Leibner


The almanac existed but it is no longer available since it was destroyed with the author in the Shoa that engulfed Polish Jewry. Therefore we decided to dedicate this page to the almanac that told us the story of Sosnowiec and its Jews. For informational purposes, we present merely the short introduction that will explain the story behind the almanac and its author.

Shimon Rothenberg began to collect and write material on Zaglembie and its Jews in 1929, especially about his birthplace, the city of Bedzin. He researched materials for over ten years, examined the various municipal archives, read books on the subject written by Polish authors, checked the old records of the various burial societies and Jewish societies. He checked and double-checked his entries on Zaglembie and its inhabitants. He devoted ten years to this project that resulted in the publication of a 500 page album. The almanac was rich in material, well presented and printed on fine paper. He printed three copies that were presented to the Polish authorities for their approval. A necessary item prior to printing en masse. The permit was granted and Shimon Rothenberg began to prepare the almanac for mass publication when WWII started. The book, the author and the Jews of Zaglembie perished.

Indeed a miracle occurred and one of the books presented to the Polish authorities for permission to print the almanac survived the war. The Polish government discovered the copy in the Bedzin office and assumed that it was a religious text. It handed the document to the Jewish community of Bedzin that functioned in town. The Almanac or rather parts of it eventually found their way to Israel and the USA. Only 100 hundred pages of the book were assembled and saved. They were printed in the book of “Pinkas Bendin” that was published by the society of Bedziner Jews in Israel in 1959 in Tel Aviv [pp10-107]. The material was dedicated to the Jews of Bedzin. In the USA more pages were discovered that related to the Jews of Sosnowiec. We have to thank the Zaglembie Jews in the States that made great efforts to purchase these additional pages and sent them to us in Israel. We do not know whether the material on Sosnowiec is complete since we can't compare pages. We of course assume that the almanac dealt with other Jewish communities in Zaglembie such as Dombrowna, Modrzejów, Czeladz and smaller places. We don't know the content of the almanac. We present before the reader the assembled pages on Sosnowiec as well as the pictures without alterations or comments. The facts are presented as they were and will help to fill the vacuum of material for the destroyed Jewish communities.

I would like to add that Mr. Rothenberg did not reveal new unknown facts in the recovered material. The entire material was published in Hebrew in Didan's book. Due to the fact that almost the entire almanac was written in Yiddish, we also felt the need to write the Sosnowiec pages in Yiddish. Besides, the former Zaglembie residents in the USA insisted on Yiddish. For those people that understand and appreciate Yiddish, we adhered to the Yiddish orthographic script that was used prior to W.W.II. This script has undergone changes but in respect to Shimon Rothenberg and his dedication to the task, we adhered to his style of writing in presenting the pages of Sosnowiec. We dedicate with saintly devotion the pages to the author who dedicated his life to the almanac.

The editor

[Page 211]

The Geographical-Historical Part
by H. Wajzenfreund

Translated by Bill Leibner

Geographic Highlights of Zaglembie

1. The geographic situation

It is a well-known fact that each country divides its territory into smaller subdivisions especially for administrative purposes. Frequently, these divisions are also created on a regional basis of ethnography, topography or economics. The Polish government created 16 districts or wojewodztwos in the first years of its independence. The country absorbed from the three occupiers of Poland [Russia, Austria and Germany] a host of laws and administrative rules as well as various cultural tastes.

Sos211a.gif [33 KB] - Schematical reference map of Zaglembie
Schematical reference map of Zaglembie

[Page 212]

This frequently prevented the districts from following the new laws and rules since some of the districts had different occupiers and developed different mental traits. Thus it was estimated that it would take some time before the districts will be able to implement the new Polish rules and laws in accordance with the spirit of the law. For many districts also had different ethnic groups of people who tended to complicate even further the implementation of the new laws.

To Zaglembie, located in the south western corner of the Kielce district that extends over 2000 square kilometers were added the entire Bedzin region and part of the Zawiercie and Olkusz areas. On the west, Zaglembie borders the Silesia district and in the south the Krakow district.

Prior to WWI, behind the city of Sosnowiec met three countries, Russia at the hamlet of Mieczew, Germany by Mislowitz and Austria by Jenzod. The three-country border was also called the three-crown corner. Presently, three districts met here, Krakow, Silesia and Kielce.

The district has a latitude of 50 degrees 15 to 50 degrees 30 and a longitude of 19 degrees to 19 degrees 35. The sun difference between the district and the London area in England is 76 minutes. The sun rises 76 minutes later in London than in Zaglembie.

There is a tendency to push Zaglembie into the Silesia district in order to form a unified coal district.

2. Topography

The sketch that we saw of the area will help us understand the situation of Zaglembie. Three main roads reached the area; the Krakow, the Czenstochowa and the Olkusz roads. The closer one gets to Zaglembie, the more factory chimneys one sees. The air was full of smoke and dust. The entire area was covered with mountains of debris that were left by the smelting of iron and the landscape was decimated.

Sos212.gif [48 KB] - Geological diagram of Zaglembie
Geological diagram of Zaglembie

[Page 213]

Large yellow spots where sand used in the process was stored. Huge white chalky spots were also scattered throughout the area. Finally big industrial complexes and living quarters for the workers that reminded one of military barracks. The cities and the countryside intermingled and the smoky air clouded the sky. People accustomed to green forests, lawns and fields merely met them in miniature.

It would be unfair not to mention the beautiful scenic places in the area. In the periphery of Zaglembie there were several historic hamlets as Olkusz, Slowkuw, Okradzinuw that formed the so-called Polish Sahara or Pustinia Blendowska located behind Olkusz that extended for 30 square kilometers. Even in the midst of Zaglembie, one fund interesting corners such as the old mountain castle in the city of Bedzin or Gura Zamkowa with the ruins of the old castle. The Malobondzer mountains and the lawns besides the river called the Black Prszemsze. Dabrowa has a small forest called the “the Green” with a swimming pool. The fully developed city of Sosnowiec had the Szielcer Park, the Sosnowiec Woods, and the White Prszemsze near the Niwka-Jenzod. The old city Czeladz had a nice park and beautiful old homes. The Dorotka located at the highest elevation of the Bedzin region [382 meters above sea level]. We could also mention some other points of interest such as Golonóg, Maczki [previously Granica], Zabkowicz, etc…

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