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[Page 332]

Nuta Londner

by Mordechai Hampel

Translated by Nitsa Bar-Sela

He was fascinated by Zionism even as a youngster and passionately devoted to it. He was among the first intellectuals and “Hovevei Zion” [Lovers of Zion] members in our town.

He was an Ahad Ha'am follower and was also involved in political Zionism. He was a loyal and devoted communal worker, and active in any Zionist field. There was no fundraising, from distributing shares of the “Colonial Bank” to the Shekel, to which he did not devote his utmost energy to. He believed in Zionism as a inspirational idea and devoted his entire self to it. He wandered from town to town, from one meeting to another, lectured, preached and gained followers to the idea of the “Tchiya” [rebirth]. He did not oppose any task which was imposed on him and always carried it out to the best of his ability.

He was also one of the main spokesmen of the town. They were three: the oldest of the Zionists Icchak Wygodzki, Nuta Londner and Abram Liwer.

[Page 333]

The first two were of the ideologists who immersed themselves in explaining Zionism, its meaning and its objectives, and Liwer was a gifted popular speaker, one of the “whips” who excelled in defending Zionism against attackers from right and left.

Bed-333a.jpg [15 KB] Nuta Londner
Nuta Londner

In the Jewish kehila [Jewish community] Londner also fought bravely for the national principles of Zionism. This war was not easy because the opponent, “Agudat Israel”, who considered the kehila as a body of only religious needs, was mighty, and sometimes they were the majority, when they joined followers of other radical religious circles in order to “beat” the Zionists. However, Londner did not relent and fought back, as befitted a proud Zionist. In his performances in the kehila he lashed back at Zion-haters by proving to them that the Diaspora was an illusion, and they could not refute his claims.

No wonder then that some time before the Shoah, when Będzin Jews had conflicts regarding the election of the Rabbi of the kehila, the leaders of “Agudat Israel” appealed to the governor of the district asking to remove the Zionist leader Londner to another rank, even higher, that is, to the reduced council of the kehila, only to “get rid” of him from the extended council of the kehila, where crucial questions were discussed and major decisions were reached. Londner, of course, refused to change his position and preferred to stay in the council and hold the simple role that he had been sent to fill.

Being highly knowledgeable and a well-known scholar, he was invited to lecture to youth groups and at “Oneg Shabbat” receptions [receptions held on the eve of the Sabbath] receptions, which we used to hold in the “Tarbut” [cultural hall]. He would make his speeches in Hebrew in a mixed Ashkenazi and Sefaradi accent but in a clear and beautiful language. He was a member of the “Al Hamishmar” [On guard] party and supported the laboring Eretz Israel [Land of Israel] people. I visited Londner quite often in his house, which was a typically traditional and Zionist home, and accompanied him in his visits in many Zionist institutions and I was always impressed by his infinite devotion. More than once he neglected his business for his Zionist activities. They were more important to him than his family's economic situation. He raised his children in his spirit. A few years before the outbreak of the catastrophe he sent his only daughter and only son to Eretz Israel, to pave the way for their parents. Both of the children arrived and managed to strike roots in Israel, but their parents did not make it.


Reb Szlomo Icchak Rynski

by D.

Translated by Nitsa Bar-Sela

He was born in 1886 in Będzin to Majer Fiszel and Rachel Jentel. As a youth he studied in the famous yeshiva in Oświęcim, under the direction of the late Rabbi Joszua Bombach, and was considered a prodigy in his studies.

After he finished his studies in the yeshiva he returned to Będzin and married the daughter of Benjamin Englard from Szczuczyn and started to trade in textile in his late father's large shop, (his father had died at an early age), but in addition to commercial business he was interested in public life and was active in almost all of the charitable and public institutions in town. He was a fervent follower of Gur but not a zealot, and he treated people kindly and tactfully.

As soon as the “Agudat Israel” branch was founded in town, Reb Szlomo Icchak was amongst its first members. He became totally devoted to the work of the party and he represented it with pride and dignity.

He headed the “Yesodei HaTorah” [The Torah basics] school which had a very good reputation in the whole area and educated thousands of students. He excelled as an exceptional orator especially in his debates with his opponents from other parties.

In 1933 he was elected to be the head of the management of the kehila, of which he was a member until the liquidation of the community. He made efforts also during the war to alleviate the life of the Jews who suffered from hunger and more until the bitter day of the total destruction of the kehila of Będzin when he, his family and the last few were taken to the furnaces of Auschwitz, may the Lord revenge their blood.


Dawid Gutensztajn

by Dawid L.

Translated by Nitsa Bar-Sela

He was born in Będzin in 1894. His education was based on the Bible and general knowledge. He studied Russian, German and accountancy. With the establishment of the State of Poland in 1918 he started to show interest in organization in Będzin. His concern was directed towards the needy and he believed that only by the right way of organizing the various institutions could a solution be found to the problems of the needy. Therefore, he devoted himself to the groups that dealt with mutual help. He was among the founders of the “Gmilut Hassadim” [Charity] fund (1924) and later of the “Disconto Bank” whose aim was to help small merchants. He was also among the organizers of the “Association of Small Merchants” which he headed for many years. He was a member of the national executive body in Warsaw, being an expert in the local commerce and administration.

Bed-333b.jpg [13 KB] Dawid Gutensztajn
Dawid Gutensztajn

[Page 334]

His store in Modrzejowska Street was like a training institute to all the small merchants and peddlers in matters of tax payment. He was a consultant to those who could not afford a lawyer.

In 1932 he was elected to serve as member in the government chamber of commerce and industry. He held this post until the outbreak of the war, represented his voters with dignity and defended them against the oppression of the Polish clerk. On the days when the waves of anti-Semitism swelled, he fought for the interests of the Jews regarding licenses, imports, allocations and so on. He foresaw the impending law of small merchants according to which every Jewish small merchant would have to pass a professional test. He, therefore, decided to open a school of commerce. And indeed he succeeded. When the private university of the late Bojarska was about to close up, he passed it to the ownership of the organization of the small merchants and turned it to a four-year high-school of commerce. Dawid Gutensztajn was also a member of the municipality of Będzin and defended the rights of its Jews. During the period of the Holocaust he assisted the underground.


Pinchas Lajb Buchwajc

by Dawid L.

Translated by Nitsa Bar-Sela

He was born in 1888 in Słomniki to a wealthy family stemming from the Hassidim of the rabbi of Alexander. Even as a boy he showed interest in the Zionist idea and secretly read Hebrew and Zionist books.

Bed-334a.jpg [15 KB] Pinchas Lajb Buchwajc
Pinchas Lajb Buchwajc

After his marriage he moved to Będzin (1908), joined the Zionist movement and especially the “Hamizrachi” movement to which he devoted his whole life.

In 1920 under his initiative and devotion a Zionist-Religious school was founded in which hundreds of pupils studied and received a Hebrew education from the headmasters e, Dr. A. Gotesdiner (died in Israel) and the teachers Dawid Londner, Zajder, Berl Beser, Iser Herszon and Josef Herszberg, of blessed memory. When Bialik visited in our town (1930), he saw the school and expressed his appreciation of the high level of studies and the Zionist-Hebrew education.

In 1929 he [Pinchas Lajb] was a representative at the Zionist congress in Zurich and was elected as a member of the Jewish Agency executive committee. He then participated in congresses that followed.

In 1925 he visited in Israel, participated in the inauguration of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, and returned to Poland, full of excitement and energy to devote himself to Zionist activity.

As the head of “Hamizrachi” in Będzin he took part fervently in all the fund raisings of the “Keren Kayemet” [National fund] “Keren Hayesod” [foundation fund] and of the institutions of “Hamizrachi”. His house was always a venue for the representatives of the appeals (Heszel Farbsztajn, Lajb Jafe, Rabbi Rubinsztajn, of blessed memory, and others). His wife too, the well-known Ita Buchwajc from the Szejnberg family, was an active participant of the Zionist life in our town and was a devoted member of the committee of Wizo.

Pinchas Lajb was also active in the Jewish kehila, in the Chamber of Commerce, in the Merchants' Organization, in the committee of the Förstenberg Gymnasium [secondary school and more.

After the break of the Second World War he continued his Zionist work and kept in constant contact with important persons and organizations abroad.

In 1943 he received from the centre of the world “Mizrachi” [organization], via Switzerland, a passport of the State of Bolivia, for him and his family, to escape the Holocaust. But the end was tragic. On the first of August, 1943, he was deported with his whole family to Auschwitz where he and his wife were sent to the gas chambers on that very day. Of his whole family his son survived and lives in Israel and his daughter lives in England.


Chawa Hutner

by D. L.

Translated by Nitsa Bar-Sela

She belonged to the Warszawski family and was born in Przasnysz in 1890. She moved to Miechów. She was raised in the contemporary spirit of the Charedim (radical Jews) but still learned languages and qualified in music. She married Icchak Hutner from Warsaw, from a dignified family.

In 1920 they moved to Będzin where, after a while, her husband joined the successful business of his brother-in-law, J. M. Kornland, owner of the large store for iron materials.

She was involved in the community life in the town and was a member of the well-known “Dobroczynność” [charity] institution. She was active in all the help projects for the poor and the needy. She was a devoted Zionist and spent much time working for Wizo where she was the head for a few years and excelled in raising funds for “Keren Hayesod” and “Keren Kayemet Le'Israel”.

Bed-334b.jpg [14 KB] Chawa Hutner
Chawa Hutner

[Page 335]

In June 1943, while working at the orphanage, she was ordered by the Gestapo to hand in the temporary workers, who were not indispensable for the institution, but she refused. As a result, she was sent to Auschwitz and murdered there.

Her exalted memory will always be kept with the martyred memories of our people.


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