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[Page 342]


50° 21' 19° 14'

Translated by Lance Ackerfeld

a) The History of Golonóg:

The village of Golonóg has resided for several hundred years on a mound of rock rising up 334 meters above sea level, serving as the end of the range of mountains blocking the Dabrowa valley from the east and north as a new embankment. I remember that the mention of this name caused laughter amongst those hearing it. Golonóg – its meaning in Polish: bare feet, a name given to the place caused smiles and laughter. In the 16th century this village was called Golonos, that is to say, bare nose. Strangely the rock is called “Golonóg Hill”. From a birds eye's view it looks like the heel of a long foot of some fossilized prehistoric creature, that the heel had turned over the natural land – without knowing when – still managing in its last death throes to divert the rough body upwards like a bare nape, without drawing its legs up in hopelessness, and as its gullet progressed through murky waters or an evil smell foamed out before death, it was pushed into the crater's flame and cooled down. Hundreds of years later its fossilized and the level nape stretched outwards, creating the range of Olkusz-Swierze mountains stretching out at its base, in making the origins of the Golonóg hills as a rocky heel. And there are those that saw in the hill and the crater the nose of some creature.

The geologists believe, that a long time ago, several thousand years ago, this whole plain was covered by sea – and found testimony to this in remnants of sea fish bones that they extracted from the depths of the ground in the Nikolai and Flora mines, and layers of red marble called plazit related to exploding rocks affirms that a long time ago there were some volcanic mountains here in this region… It is possible that several hundred years ago someone saw something in this imagery of rocks and foothills, whilst saw the connection to the prehistoric mounds calling the hill a bare foot (in Polish: Golo Nog), and from this originated the name Golonóg in Polish. It is also possible that for others their first impression saw the rocks as a nose, and it was bare, and accordingly called it Goli Nos (bare nose), and over time the Golonos arose (see Pawinski: The source of Events). The Golonóg Hill was once very much higher and atmospheric activities made it lower, and at the beginning of the 17th century – by people.

Golonóg was one of the nicest places in Dabrowian Zaglembie. If someone is looking for picturesque landscape, surprising serenity, he should go to the Golonóg Hill during the summer. Here it is immeasurably and inestimably beautiful. Here is a wonderful magic. Everywhere is a wonderful eye-captivating sight, filled with song and prose and causing spectacles and hallucinations. Whilst in the autumn season, when the trees have gold gnawed leaves and sadness weighs on the soul, or the nerves are depressed from many of life's worries and one looks for tranquility and calm – one should hasten to spend several hours to be amongst the dense trees of Golonóg Hill, and to return from there as if born again.

Over more than a hundred years ago the region closest to Golonóg was covered in thick forests that were filled with waterfalls and marshes, filled with filthy and murky water, in which there were multitudes of reptiles and insects. In the forests on the eastern side huge larch trees grew, [as well as] fir trees and, not infrequently, amongst them grew oak trees. In the forests on the western and northern sides pine trees grew out of the swamps, and their intertwined branches that extended out were reflected in the intangible, moist, murky water. Only a rock at the top of the hill showed a white reflection in the suns rays, on which a bear would from time to time lie on and warm himself – or the cry of a deer would echo from above. Even a hundred years ago there were no other buildings here apart from the forest keepers' shacks that were embedded in rock crevices that protruded above ground. Around a hundred years ago, north of the hill was quite a large creek around Leknica that flowed into the Bogoria River. Today only remnants of the ancient forests are visible, and only some traces remain of the creek. Nothing remains of the alabaster stone which shone above the prayer house of the cemetery behind the walls of the church, apart from some stone fragments scattered on the slopes of the hill.

Nothing is known about the origins of the village. If we believe the legend, there was once a fortress on the nearby Leknica in the region of the miry pit, one can conclude, that Golonóg also existed then, naturally under a different name.

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Another legend tells of Queen Jadwiga, wife of Wladyslaw Jagiello [Wladyslaw II Jagiello – king of Poland 1386-1434], who would spend time on the hill, and there is a tradition amongst the people about a certain tough man from the wooden fortress in Bedzin who also “spent time” on the hill. And since in every legend there is some truth – and in this tradition there is some truth, – one can believe that Golonóg already existed in the 12th century and was located on the famous road that went from Krakow through Slawków to Sielce. The first information about the village can be found in a Slawkówian periphery ledger from 1326. In the first half of the 15th century Golonóg already belonged to the Bishop of Krakow. For hundreds of years there was farm in the village belonging to the periphery of Slawków, of which no trace remains. It stood where the government forestry office stands today, and as well no traces remain of the village inn which stood at the foot of the hill on the western side, and on the right-hand side of the road that today leads to Dabrowa Górnicza. This was a celebrated inn and hostel which was intended to be used by high officials of the government and the church, and in which the famous outlaw Jorga Stos and his band got drunk, and in the end he betrayed his gang and turned them into the authorities.

The mines in the Golonóg region began in the second half of the 19th century. By order of the Russian Tsar of the 24th March 1889, the official bank of the Austrian States (Länderbank) received a license to establish the “Flora” coal-mine. The administrative council was located in Vienna. The first general manager that was appointed was Edward Palmer. The foundation capital of the bank was 40 million florin (florin – rheinisch – two Austrian crowns), and of this 140,000 florin was earmarked for the establishment capital of the “Flora” mine. In around 1895 the industrialist Rau founded the Nikolai mine, which in 1900 was rented to Anthony Kotlarz. The third coal-mine called “Francisk” was established in the Golonóg region in about 1899 and by the Austrian States Bank. This was a small mine and wasn't very productive. Today all these mines belong to the past, and no longer exist. The last one was destroyed by the German Nazis as they retreated in front of the Red Army.

From 1960 Golonóg constituted part of the town of Dabrowa Górnicza and a distance of 9 kilometers from the center of the town.

b) The History of Jewish settlement in Golonóg:

The Jews of Golonóg were not amongst those who sang praises to the landscape of the place. Some of them were not amongst those who said: “How beautiful is this tree, how beautiful is this field” (Patriarchs 3, 7), and not even amongst those who said: How beautiful and remarkable is this town (Scriptures 240). Golonóg was full of coal-mines, and in these mines were laborers and of tradesmen in their hundreds and thousands, who were in need of the Jews as a financial entity that could assist them in various ways and make their work and livelihood easier.

It was a small Jewish community, which provided a contact point between Zabkowice and Sosnowiec and was located next to the road that was paved from Dabrowa Górnicza to Swierze, on the left side of the Warsaw-Vienna railway line. Like its neighbor, Golonóg also served as a crossroad between the Jews from various regions who passed through it passing from north to south, east to west. In Golonóg Jews from the Kielce and Piotrkow regions could be seen streaming to the large Zaglembian towns and even to the Silesian towns beyond the Przemsza River. Golonóg also served as a railway station on the Warsaw-Sosnowiec line and from the carriage windows of the train that would pass through innumerable times each day, the faces of the Jews could be seen busily occupied.

Golonóg, as a neighbor of Zabkowice, was regarded as a place for excursions in the summer period for both schools and pupils and also adults who came to breath in fresh air, and with the development of the sports movement and the pioneer training camp in which they prepared themselves for aliya to the land of Israel, Golonóg was an ideal place in which youths of various ages met and talked about the national future. However, the main sources of livelihood for the Jews of there were the large coal-mines that existed here with numerous workers who found an occupation and livelihood for themselves and their families, and they served as a good source of livelihood for the Jews there, as well.

The Jews in Golonóg were not only supply store owners for food goods only. Amongst them were also textile businesses and tradesmen like butchers, bookmakers, tailors and other professions. The relationship between the Jews and the Christians was not unlike that in other places. The Jewish store owners and tradesmen would offer the mine worker goods and basic necessities on credit, since the workers did not work with a wage on a daily basis. They would only receive their wages twice a month. And if a worker felt like drinking to excess and thus waste all his wages – the Jewish store owners would continue to support the worker in his time of need and continue to assist him with credit. Every worker chose one or two Jews who would supply his requisites, even when what they requested wasn't available, and these relationships turned into regular relationships which were convenient for both parties. These mutual relationships didn't prevent the Jews behaving in their customary traditional lifestyles, and the workers already knew to stock themselves with provisions in advance before the rest days of the Sabbath and festivals.

On Sabbaths and festivals, on which the Jewish stores were locked, the Christian customers would patiently wait till the evening. And when the evening arrived and the Jews were still involved in their spiritual lives, in the third meal, in evening prayer and Havdalah blessing, the Christians would genially knock on their windows calling: “It is already permissible to open the store. There are already three stars in the sky”. And thus it was on the days of Pesach, that all the Christians knew that for the eight days of the festival leavened bread wouldn't be seen, and because of this the Christians would prepare a supply for themselves which would last eight days.

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In the faith and spiritual life there was a considerable difference between the residents of the place, Jews and Christians. Again here it could be declared: “Lets look and see the difference between my son and my father-in-law”. The Christians could boast about their church built of stone in 1675 from the fund in the name of the bishop of Krakow, Andrzej Trzebicki, and the shelter for the elderly and incapacitated, in addition to the community office. In 1827 there were 127 homes with 919 people in Golonóg. The number of Jews isn't mentioned, since there wasn't a single Jewish soul there, whilst the general census that was undertaken by the Russian Tsarist regime in 1897 found 527 souls in Golonóg, of which there were 56 Jews. On the other hand in 1939 (the year of the outbreak of the Second World War by the German Nazis) there were 600 Jewish souls in Golonóg (according to the book Megillat Polin [The saga of Poland], part five: The destruction). The local Jews didn't have funds for founding community institutes, and with great efforts they managed to achieve the position of a new kehila [Jewish community] in the Zaglembian region, and of course spiritually they were also connected to the Bedzin kehila, to which they would pay the “Etat” [budget] taxes, bury their dead in the Bedzin cemetery and so on.

However with the growth of the Jewish community in Golonóg its members didn't want to be dependent on the Bedzin kehila, and as early as 1908 several home owners from the Jews in Golonóg participated in a combined request that was sent (together with representatives from Zagórze, Józefów, Gmina-Górna and Zabkowice) to the regional minister in Piotrkow to allow them to break off their ties with the Bedzin kehila and together with the Jews of Dabrowa to form an independent kehila called the “Dabrowa kehila”. The reason for this request was that because of the great distance from Bedzin and lack of responsiveness of the Bedzin kehila to their situation and needs, it was difficult for them to carry out their religious matters there. The district minister in Piotrkow and the regional minister in Bedzin rejected their request. However the communities seeking independence didn't reconcile themselves with this reality, and they presented an appeal, that reached discussion in the senate in Piotrkow. Once again the appeal came from the home owners in various places, amongst them Golonóg, as well, to break ties with the Bedzin kehila. The Jews of Golonóg expressed their desire to associate with the Dabrowa kehila after receiving approval on behalf of the regime. After innumerable rejections the office of the district minister in its meeting of the 10th of September 1910 to approve the request of most of Jews from places which were previously detailed and allow them to establish with their resources an independent kehila in Dabrowa, to which the settlements of Huta Bankowa, Reden, and the village of Golonóg were also associated, and they took upon themselves to maintain the kehila at their own expense and means. And with this the struggle did not end. In the meantime, the First World War erupted in 1914 there was a disruption of the defining borders in various area, although in Golonóg history continued onwards, till matters sorted themselves out in some manner. The name “Golonóg” appears on all the documents and correspondence that were dispatched regarding the independent Jewish community there, and Jewish historians have made use of these papers from the district and regional archives that remained intact.

In Golonóg there were no names of streets. The residents divided up the place into several centers: the “Flora” street, the “Zionc” neighborhood that was on the way to Dabrowa, and Koscielna (the Jews called it “unter di toma”). The Jews were mainly concentrated around the railway station, and there was a Bet Midrash [prayer house] there from the period before the First World War, and next it was a mikve. The Bet Midrash was rented from the Christians of Pranus.

Amongst the first Jewish families that came to live in Golonóg were: Lajbl Gnut, Dawid Groszynski, Icze Hipszer, Jechiel Jakubowicz, Mendel Zonszajn (known as Small Mendele), Szmul Binder, the Baumgarten family, whose forefathers came from Drahovice, a eye doctor, and married Blimale from Golonóg and after the First World War was forced to leave there and left behind wife and family, two sons and a daughter, who made their living from a convenience store and selling coal.

The owners of the convenience stores were: Lajbisz Gnut who relocated to his father-in law Welwele Gryn, Nisan Baumgarten, Baruch Plachcinski, Jankl Jura, Naftali Kaczka from Wloszczowa, the Cohen family who relocated to Gzichów.

Tailors: Mendle Zonszajn, Joszua Zonszajn, Avigdor Binder.

Butchers: Zindl Fersztenfeld, his son Abram, Melech Fuks, Jechezkiel Zaks (drowned in the mikve in 1923), Szlomo Dancyger, Szmul Szajntal (sausage maker), Hilel (butcher store owner).

Boot makers: Wilkom, Jechiel Jakubowicz, his son Fiszl, Fiszl Plachcinski and his brother Abram, Abram Haliszewicz, and the most senior boot makers there was considered to be Jechiel Cohen.

There were also peddlers in the surrounding villages who lived in Golonóg, like: Jakob Jura and his sons Chaim, Jechezkiel and Abram, who in the last war emigrated to Russia, Jechezkiel and Abram made aliya to Israel, and Abram – in America, and also dealing in peddling in the villages were Dawid Gruszczynski, and was helped by his five sons.

Wajsberg and Zygelbaum were owners of timber supply stores in Golonóg, and they lived in Czestochowa. Tuwja Hipszer was a bookkeeper in a store in Bedzin.

Wolf Gryn and Dawid Gruszczynski served as prayer leaders in the Bet Midrash. Szmul Szajntal was also considered a good cantor and he had three children all of whom were killed in the Holocaust.

A building, close to the railway station, was allocated for the Bet Midrash in which there was a hall for worshippers with a women's gallery, and next door to it the mikve was built. There were periods that the mikve was neglected because of a lack of someone to take care of it, and because of this there was the incident in which one of its visitors drowned. After that they were frightened to go into it for fear of “ghosts” who supposedly existed there. The mikve was finally repaired and once again became “suitable for everyone”. There were about sixty worshippers in the Bet Midrash. A cheder existed in the Bet Midrash, that was run by a teacher whose name has been forgotten. Later on the blond teacher Majer Jechiel came in his place from Koszylow-Bedzin, and on Sabbath days and holidays he would return to his home.

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On every Sabbath they would carry out the “three meals” in the Bet Midrash, at the initiative of the gabbaim [beadles] Baruch Plachcinski and Welwele Gryn.

In Golonóg lived the shochet [ritual slaughterer] from Czarnowce and his son Josef was a qualified teacher who dealt with issues presented to him, and also served as a cantor in the Bet Midrash.

As always there were also people in Golonóg who weren't satisfied by the Bet Midrash, and Nisan Baumgarten came and opened up a shtiebl in a room that he rented close to the Bet Midrash and there were about thirty worshippers in it. On festival days everyone without exception would pray in the Bet Midrash. From time to time preachers and rabbis would come to lecture or sermonize in religious matters. Ruwen Lichtcyer from Dabrowa, who was a well known philanthropist and religious activist, would frequently appear in the Bet Midrash and sermonize on giving charity and on moral life, and his words made a great impression.

Life in Golonóg throbbed with the multitude of laborers who worked in the large plants there. Thousands of laborers worked in “Flora”, and hundreds of laborers worked in the mine belonging to the Jewish family of Rechnic. Schools and pupils arrived there for excursions and recreation and hiked around there. There were also many tourists from all the extremities of Poland. As a place with a beautiful landscape and convenient to reach by train, there were always new faces appearing there. Jewish youth were not organized independently, and they belonged to organizations in nearby Dabrowa.

The anti-Semitic disease also adhered to the Christians living in Golonóg, and under its influence various Jews began leaving the places to settle in nearby towns, to Bedzin, to Dabrowa, and even to Sosnowiec.

Several of them also reached Israel, and others are located in France and other countries.

Sos345.jgp [29 KB] - New residential buildings in Golonóg
New residential buildings in Golonóg

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