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[Page 270]

The group “Young Zaglembie”

Translated by Bill Leibner

In 1933, a group of young Yiddish writers formed an artistic group called “Young Zaglembie”. The aim of the group was to popularize progressive cultural art amongst the Jewish masses. They published two collections entitled “Gerangel” [Struggle] in 1933, a book of poems entitled “Baytshen” [Whips] by Yuri Arbor (Tuvia Baum) in 1935, and a book of poems by “Young Zaglembie” in 1937. All these works were published with illustrations and linotype settings.

Tuvia Baum

He finished a Hebrew school and then a general high school. He wrote primarily in Polish, and notably a drama and a story in Sanscript. In 1931, he reached Paris and met Jewish workers; as a result he started to write in Yiddish. He participated in the publication of the two collections “The Struggle” in 1933. Two years later, his book entitled “The Whips” was published and then banned in 1937. He received first prize with a poem entitled “Weisse Flecken” [White Spots] in a literary contest sponsored by Ruwen Ludwik in the “Aynzich” [on the inside or the self] published in New York. He also edited and wrote for the issue of “Young Zaglembie”. In 1938 he participated in and edited the literary section of the Academic Journal of the “Agniska” society in Polish, translated the third volume of Mickiewicz's “Dziady” [Old Poor Men]. Slowacki's “Anhelli” and “Lila Weneda” are being readied for publication. He has published in the “Literarishe Bletter” [Literary Pages], “Post” (Polish), “Aynzich”, and “Morgen Journal” [Morning Paper] in New York.

Sos270a.jpg [4 KB] - L. Szykman
Sos270b.jpg [4 KB] - A. Klajnman
Sos270c.jpg [4 KB] - H. Dancygier
Sos270d.jpg [4 KB] - Z. S. Baum
Sos270e.jpg [4 KB] - T. Baum
L. Szykman A. Klajnman H. Dancygier Z. S. Baum T. Baum

[Page 271]

Zygmunt S. Baum

He finished high school and later continued his artistic studies in Paris at the “École Nationale des Beaux Arts”. He graduated with distinction. He prepared all the sketches and photos in the “Young Zaglembie” publications. He is presently employed as an artistic supervisor in a Parisian plant.

Herszel Dancygier

He started to write for the “Young Zaglembie”. He published in the regional press as well as in literary publications such as “Ot” [sign or letter], “Die Post”, and has participated in poetic competitions in the “Aynzich” of New York.

Efraim Klajman

He made his debut as a writer with a poem entitled “Palestine”, published in “Bafrajung” [Liberation] in Warsaw. He participated with songs and short stories in the following publications: “Gezangen” [Songs], Lodz (1919); Wajsenberg's “Shtrom” [stream, river], 1924; “ Weltshpigel” [world mirror], 1929/39; “Unzer Welt” [our world] in 1938; “Folksblatt” [people's page] in Bielska (German). He published poems in the labor newspapers of Kattowice (Polish), and participated in all issues of the “Young Zaglembie”.

Lajzer Szykman

He was paralyzed during WWI. He completed a hospital school in Switzerland. He started to write for the local and regional press. He participated in the poetic collections: “Gerangel” [struggle] and “Young Zaglembie”. He wrote in the “Wochenschrift” [Weekly Publication], “Zukunft” [Future], “Vorwärts” [Forwards], “Post”, and “Literarishe Bletter” [Literary Pages]. He participated in poetic competitions in the “Aynzich” of New York.

Chaim Nachman Bialik in Sosnowiec

(Some memories)

by Gerszon Stawski

Translated by Bill Leibner

It occurred in 1897 when Sosnowiec was still a village with a small Jewish population that contained a number of educated Jews who insisted on a good Hebrew teacher for their children.

Sos271.jpg [16 KB] - Chaim Nachman Bialik
Chaim Nachman Bialik
as he left Sosnowiec in 1899 at age 26

Some people wrote to the Hebrew writer Ezra Goldin in Lodz to recommend a good teacher for their children. Goldin had good contacts with many Hebrew writers and spread the word. He received some responses, notably a postal card from Zytomierz signed by H. N. Bialik. The latter asked Goldin how many parents would be angry with him. He altered slightly a biblical statement. The readers were impressed with the reply and invited Bialik to Sosnowiec.

He had ample time to teach and to write. He wrote most of his poems in the city during the period of 1897-1899.

The first poem that Bialik wrote in Sosnowiec was entitled “Achen Hatzir Haam” [indeed the Grass of the People]. It was published in “Hashiloah” [Hebrew newspaper]. The poem received great publicity when W. Jabotinsky translated it to Russian and published it in the Jewish-Russian newspaper “Woschod ” under the title “Do Poniv Moy Narod”.

Some other well-known poems that he wrote in Sosnowiec were “Razi Leila” [Mysteries of the Night] and “Bashel Tapuch” [The Cooked Apple].

[Page 272]

With the arrival of Bialik in Sosnowiec, a group of young enlightened Jews formed a close circle about him. Amongst them was Mosze Feldsztajn, who would later write short stories under the pen name of Rabbi Mosze. At the time he resided in Sosnowiec, as did the author of the article, Jakob Wajnberg and others. This circle founded the Zionist organization in the city and helped to establish the Zionist organization in the cities of Bedzin and Dabrowa.

The center of the enlightened intelligentsia concentrated around Bialik, who lived at the home of Gerszon Stawski, at Pilsudski Street 12. (The street name was not definite yet.) Here people met several times a week, especially in the winter months. Bialik called these meetings “our literary evenings”, and frequently mentioned them in his letters to friends in Sosnowiec. On a visit to the city in 1932, he spoke about these evenings and referred to them as youthful memories.

It is important to stress that Bialik did not finish a poem without first reading it before the members of the literary evening. He also listened to observations and constructive criticisms from the members of the literary club. Some of the lines were indeed affected by some of these exchanges where Bialik set the tone. Indeed the latter insisted that a poet needed the reader as the latter needed the author. Even his stories were very interesting. He always displayed a good sense of humor and frequently interjected humorous comments that had the effect of rockets.

Bialik's well-known poem “Arieh Baal Haguf” [The Lion that Possessed a Body], is a composition of his childhood experiences in the suburb of Zytomierz, where he grew up. He used to talk about these experiences before the literary evenings. The members of the literary circle insisted that he write these experiences. This led to the creation of the above-mentioned poem that he loved to talk about.

Sos272.jpg [15 KB] - Bialik in Sosnowiec, 1932
Bialik in Sosnowiec in 1932

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