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The Cheder “Yesodei Hatorah” {cont.}

[Page 80]

Bed-080.jpg [22 KB] - The Cheder Yesodei Hatorah building
The “Cheder Yesodei Hatorah” building

The yearly budget of the cheder reached more than 60,000 guilders. The main income came from tuition, subsidies from the “Keren Hatorah” [Torah Fund – Torah means both the Five Books of Moses and education] central office at the “Agudat Yisrael” central office of Chorev [Central Committee for Jewish Religious Education] in Warsaw, from the Będzin kehila [organized Jewish community] and city hall.

The managing committee, which administers the cheder, consists of the following list: Szmul Wolf Kozlowski (chairman), Mosze Chaim Kaminer (vice chairman), Chaim Fiszel Frajdman (Sosnowiec honorary secretary), Mordechai Radoszicki (secretary), Elijahu Lewin, Perec Tojba, Aron Koplowicz, Szmelka Szpiro, Abram Majer Hercberg, Nechamia Staszewski, and Icze Gryngraz.

The “Cheder Yesodei Hatorah” possessed the most respected place among the religious educational institutions in Poland.

The “Bet-Yakov” School

The school was founded in 1925 by the following managing committee members of Agudat Yisrael in Będzin: Mosze Chaim Kaminer, Israel Justman, Zyskind Zygelbaum and Dawid Skoczylas.

The purpose of the school was to educate the female students in the religious spirit. The program of study consisted of religious subjects, writing and reading Yiddish, Tanach [Bible] and Jewish history. A very great weight was placed on speaking about Judaism.

The school, which was very popular with the local religious Jewry, numbered about 500 students from the age of seven to 15. The current managing committee consisted of Zyskind Zygelbaum (chairman), Motl Gertner (treasurer), Mendl Monczarz (secretary), Icze Majer Ferszter, Abram Mordechai Wajs, Berisz Makower, Mosze Wajsbort and Nechemia Staszewski.

A “Bnot Agudat Yisrael” organization [girl's division of the Aguda] also existed at the “Bet Yakov” School, which consisted of members who graduated from the school. The activity of the “Bnot” organization had a cultural-religious character.

A library of more than 1,000 books also existed with the organization that numbered around 200 members.

Every year a summer colony was organized for the members by the managing committee of the organization. The colony was managed in an exemplary manner.

The managing committee of the “Bnot Agudat Yisrael” consisted of the following members: T. Moszel, Z. Buchszrajber, T. Frydrich, Sz. Justman, M. Fefer, R. Erlichman, J. Feder and Ingster. Judit Suszek, Chana Kugelman and Malka Fefer served the organization exceptionally.

The “Talmud Torah”

The “Talmud Torah” [religious school for poor boys] did not have its own building until the year 1900 and it was then organized in private houses. At the initiative of the Rabbi, Reb Isachar Berisz Graubart, of blessed memory, they proceeded to create for the “Talmud Torah” its own location. The contemporary rich men of the city contributed several thousands of rubles on behalf of this objective with the larger contributions of the following people standing out: Josef Erlich 2,000 rubles, Jakob Hersz Fiszer 2,000 rubles, Wolf Werdyger 1,000 rubles, Berl Rozenblat 500 rubles, Hilel Pachter 300 rubles and Berl Blajcher 200 rubles. In addition there were many contributions of 100 and 50 rubles.

A spot with an old building on Zawale Street was purchased. The building was entirely restored and adapted for the use of this initiative.

Of the later contributions, those that stood out were those by Jicchak Dawid Dawidowicz and Gerszon Glecer, who systematically supported the “Talmud Torah” with large donations, although they were not rich men.

Until 1927 the “Talmud Torah” had periods of activity; the number of students wavered then between 300-400. The academic subjects encompassed the alef-Bet [a,b,c's] to the Gemara [Talmudic commentaries], critical glosses and were led by the director, Reb Awreml Szafir. Wolf Werdyger, who also occupied the office of treasurer for almost 40 years, was the steady patron and was the principal of the institution.

[Page 81]

He was assisted by the active managing committee members: Dawidl Turner, Henek Zylberszac, Mendl Dąb, Szmul Lewin, Lipe Kaminer and Szabtai Mandelbaum.

With the introduction into life of the law about compulsory school, the institution suddenly found itself in a difficult situation concerning educational matters because 80 percent of the students of school age were forced to enroll in the secular schools. But thanks to the untiring work of the then chairman, Mordechai Dafner, the “Talmud Torah” was successful in receiving special consideration with the rights of a public school. This fact also caused the number of students to increase to 500. But, simultaneous with the growth in numbers, was also the erection of a new building.

Thanks to the initiative of the managing committee member, Szabtai Mandelbaum, a collection was carried out on behalf of a new building, which was completed in the year 1928 and consisted of two large rooms. The building cost 8,000 guilder and half of that, 4,000 guilder, was covered by the well known liberal donor, the chairman Sz. Fürstenberg. In addition to this, Fürstenberg donated 700 guilder for chairs and 500 guilder for a tile oven. In recognition of his great deed, the managing committee decided to immortalize the donor's name with a marble tablet in one of the two new rooms that would be named for him.

The years 1928-1932 were very favorable for the “Talmud Torah”. Active then on the managing committee, among others, were also, Werdyger, Dafner, Najmark, Janowski, with the Rabbi, Reb Cwi Chanoch Lewin, of blessed memory, at the head. But in the year 1932 the material situation began to be constantly very critical, so that the “Talmud Torah” was transformed with the times, both externally and internally, into a simple ruin and that the institution was not liquidated is only thanks to the persuasive power of Jicchak Dreksler, the long time secretary, whose call for help again reached chairman Fürstenberg.

Fürstenberg undertook the action of reviving the “Talmud Torah” and, as an example, he himself contributed. Through his own financial support he began a complete renovation of the building, externally and internally. Then he called constant meetings of the local elite and brought about the undertaking of a one-time money collection that brought in for the institution several thousand guilders. The economy became financially sound and a general meeting was called at which a managing committee was elected where members of almost all of the layers of the Będzin Jewish population were represented.

The managing committee exhibited very little capability and the only active leader remained Fürstenberg, the chairman, on whose shoulders lay the burden of maintenance of around 400 students and the numerous personnel.

The general management of the institution was carried out by Jicchak Dreksler, the long time secretary.

[Page 81]

The “Folks-Shuln” [Schools]

(Powszechny [universal])

Translated by Gloria Berkenstat Freund

The School No. 2
Named for Henryk Sienkiewicz*
*[Translator's note: Polish writer, winner of 1905 Nobel Prize for Literature.]

In 1917 the German occupying regime concentrated all of the then existing Jewish schools into one Jewish seven-class municipal school; the teacher, J. Rapaport, was nominated as pedagogical, economic director and Mieczysław Simaszka as school inspector with a seat in Sosnowiec.

Because of a shortage in existing schools at that time, city hall opened complete courses at the Jewish schools at 5 in afternoon.

On the 51st* October, 1923, evening courses at the school were opened for young children who, because of a lack of space, could not be taken into the school.
*[Translator's note: the correct date probably should be the 15th of October.]

Evening courses were opened for adults with a program of a seven class public school or four class middle school in January 1924.

The 10th anniversary of the school was celebrated on the 3rd of June, 1928. Representatives of the school authority, city managing committee, city council, as well as various institutions took part in the celebration. An exhibition of the school children's work was arranged in connection with the celebration.

On the 21st of September, 1930, the school moved into a new building that was specially built for this purpose with all of the newest techniques, with all modern accommodations. Until then the locations were spread at various sites in the city. The work was very difficult because of this.

The school trustee from Krakow, the school inspector, representatives of the city hall, city council, provincial governor and others came to the solemn opening of the building.

The school was again reorganized for the school year, 1936/37 and a new school was specified for young boys, the Powczechna [universal] School No. 9. Because of this fact, the divisions of School No. 2 were reduced from 19 to 31. The following statistics give evidence of the development of the school: During the school year, 1920-21, 701 children enrolled. In the school year, 1921/22 – 772 children, consisting of 219 boys and 553 girls and in the year 1922/23 – 777 children, among them 226 boys and 551 girls.

In the school year 1930/31, 844 boys were enrolled in the 16 divisions, in 1932/33 – 1,074 boys and in year 1934/35, 1,030 boys were enrolled. Today the school possesses its own library with more than 1,400 books, a geographic division, a carpentry shop and an orchestra.

[Page 82]

The school also runs nutrition functions for poor children.

J. Rapaport, the director, who worked intensively with the school opiekunes (guardians) M. Hampel and M. Rozenberg stood at the head of the school, on behalf of its development and both in the pedagogic and in the economic realms.

The School No. 4
Named for Eliza Orzeszkowa

The School No. 4 was founded in 1919 and Mrs. Ursztajn-Szancer, who had been a teacher in the Będzin schools since 1889, was chosen as the director.

At the founding, the school had four basic divisions and four parallel, which were attended by about 470 children. The teaching personnel consisted of seven people.

Since 1924 the teaching personnel of the school has consisted of 41 members and the number of classes waver between 14-19 divisions that has encompassed around 1,000 children.

Until 1928 the school had been found at various places in the city. But in the same year, the school received a location in the “Piast” building on Małachowski Street No. 35 and since then the entire life of the School No. 4 has been concentrated in this building.

Because of the inadequate number of classrooms, the studies take place in the morning and afternoon.

In 1931 Mrs. Szancer, the director – after 24 years of activity in the school system – entered retirement and Mrs. Podlinska, a teacher from the same school, was chosen in her place and holds that place today.

At this moment the school has 14 divisions that are found in eight rooms in which 800 female students study. The teaching continues to occur in the morning and afternoon and the personnel consists of 12 people.

The school supervisors who were chosen by the parents of the children consist of the following members: Dawid Gutsztajn (chief guardian), Karol Fiszel and Szmul Libermensz.

The School No. 8
Named for Marja Konopnicka

In the beginning of the school year 1929/30, the school regime carried out a reorganization of the public school for the Jewish children in Będzin. Two Jewish schools for females and one school for males were created out of the existing two Jewish coeducational schools, No. 2 and No. 4. All boys were concentrated in the School No. 2 and the Schools No. 4 and No. 8 were designated for the girls.

Mrs. F. Brojda was chosen as director of the School No. 8 by the Sosnowiec school inspector.

During the cited school year, 590 students were enrolled and 11 divisions were created, among them seven primary divisions and four parallel.

The school premises were dispersed and were located in as many as four buildings in various parts on Kołłątaja Street.

The teacher personnel who were assigned from School No. 2 consisted of eight female teachers and one religious teacher.

The first parents' meeting took place during the same school year and a school supervisory group was elected. A library for the students was also created with about 400 books and a music teacher was brought in for the children with [musical] ability. A school cooperative, a savings fund, a library for the teachers with over 100 books was also organized then and a series of excursions for the students were also organized.

In the school year 1930/31 680 students were accepted and 12 divisions were created. The school added two premises on Podgórska Street No. 4 and Kołłątaja No. 27.

A general self-managing committee was organized, which developed very well at a rapid pace. The work of the self-managing committee was praised by the school regime during the twice yearly reviews.

The school developed still more during the 1931/32 school year. Two new divisions were created and two teachers were added.

The self-managing committee that was divided into several sections also developed favorably and published a small newspaper.

Nutrition campaigns were organized for the poorest children, who also received clothing and shoes.

With the start of the school year 1932/1933 the school premises was moved to the building on Malachowski Street, No. 35 where all of the classes are located, except for two that are located at Malachowski Street, No. 42.

On the 11th of November 1934 the Kielce vojovode [provincial governor] himself gave the “silver cross of merit” to the director, Mrs. Brojda, for her untiring work in the cultural, educational and communal realm.

During the school year 1936/37 the teaching personnel decreased by two people. City Hall also took one school room at the school because conditions grew worse in relation to the previous year. Now the school has only 23 divisions and 7 classrooms.

A school supervisory group comprised of the following is active at the school: Abram Wajcenberg (principle guardian), Icchak Parasol and Sara Rozenwald.

[Page 83]

The School No. 9

The school was founded on the 1st of September 1936. This is a seven class co-educational school that consists of five classrooms, its own library with more than 500 books and has 400 students, 379 of those boys and 21 girls.

The teaching personnel consists of five people with L. Rechtman, the director, at the head. A guardian council with Ch. Zauberman at the head exists at the school. School No.9 is located in the same building as School No. 2.

*   *   *

The children from the Folks Shuln are under consistent hygienic-medical supervision and when it is necessary they are sent to the municipal health center where they receive medical help in all infirmaries that are supervised by the Będzin city hall.

During the summer period the Jewish children are sent out to colonies and half colonies; the colonies are supervised by the Będzin city managing committee and are in their own buildings that were specially built for the Jewish children.

The Three Class Private Trade School
of the Central Merchants and Retailers Union in Poland, Będzin Division

The trade school was found in 1927 by Marija Bajarska. In the first year of its existence only the first class was active and later the second and third classes gradually became active.

The early times were very unfavorable for the school. This was the only Jewish trade school, not only in Będzin, but in the entire Zagłębie area and yet the attendance was very weak. The reason for this must be that the trade school system was then not yet popular enough among Jews.

This condition lasted almost until 1934. That year, the school became nationalized and became the property of the Będzin division of the society, Central Merchants and Retailers Union in Poland.

Simultaneously, the new law about the Polish school system was enacted that greatly strengthened the middle trade school system, placing it on a more even level with the middle school system of a general character. For this reason the trade school system moved into first place, which resonated among Jewish society.

As a significant flow began of the young into the trade school system and also into the above mentioned school, the perception began of a change for the better. In addition, the nationalization of the school brought about frequent growth.

The fact that the trade school was found in the hands of a communal institution was the best propaganda on behalf of the school and the number of students grew from year to year. If the number of students reached 54 during the school year 1934/35, in 1935/36 the number was already 90, in 1936/37 – 146 and in the school year 1937/38 the number reached 210.

Today the school consists of five classes: two first, two second and one third. In addition to this, in the coming year, a co-educational class will be opened and beginning on the 1st of January, 1938, a comprehensive evening course for merchants and trade employees.

Because of the positive development of the school, the above mentioned society found it necessary to replace the premises with a larger one that is now located on Kołłątaja Street, No. 33.

Until 1934 Marija Bajarska stood at the head of the school and since then Regina Majtlis leads the school.

Dr. Sztatler's Trade Courses

These learning institutions arose in 1918. Its founders were: T. Rakowski and K. Sztatler. These were the first trade courses in Będzin that were certified by the Ministry of Education.

At the start, the lectures took place at the premises of the local Polish Real School and since 1931 they have taken place in its own premises.

Dr. Sztatler, who simultaneously was chosen by the trustees as their leader, is the exclusive owner of the courses since that same year.

The courses were at a coeducational learning institution whose task was to educate the students in trade and management systems.

The courses, which were held under the supervision of the Krakow trusteeship, were very popular in Zagłębie and in the of course their existence graduated hundreds of graduates among whom a large number occupy eminent positions in trade, industry and financial institutions.

Dr. Sztatler who also has been certified as a bookkeeper in the trade and industry office in Sosnowiec for a number of years, leads the course to this day.

Soon the above educational institution will also open courses in foreign languages as well trade correspondence in foreign languages.

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