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[Page 165]

Pogroms

 

Forward

Dr. Rafal Sohler

The Jewish community in Czenstochow experienced three pogroms from the beginning of the 20th century, pogroms that marked with blood the road of reaction in Poland and cast a dark shadow in advance of the dark night of Hitlerism that annihilated this community along with the entire Jewish community in this country. All three pogroms against the Jews in Czenstochow, under various political regimes, essentially were organized by the same dark reactionary forces with the same political purpose – to drown the striving for freedom by the Polish masses in the blood of Jewish victims, just as the determined stand of organized Polish labor in each of the pogroms is mirrored in the growth of the political consciousness of the workers movement in the city and the entire country.

The pogrom in 1902 was organized by the Polish Endekes [anti–Semitic Polish National Party] in alliance with clergy under the Black Wing of the Tsarist administration,

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although without its initiative, as a means of staving off the masses of the newly arising socialist movement that kept spreading over the country. The young and persecuted Polish socialist movement did not do more than demonstrate its protest against pogroms in appeals that it tried to spread in Czenstochow, Lodz and other worker centers (see the footnote of Shimkha Lev to the report of the Arbeter–Shtime [Voice of the Worker]).

The pogrom in 1919 in “liberated” Poland was much bloodier and more tragic than the first pogrom 17 years earlier. The reactionary [forces] in Poland were stronger and more widespread among the ruling classes and more brutal than in the Tsarist times because there was much more at stake than there was then [in Tsarist times]. The Polish reactionaries stood face to face against the direct danger of a social revolution that was victoriously carried out in neighboring Russia. The slogan of the pogromists – fight against “Bolsheviks” and Jews – already had the full support not only of the Endekes Party and the clergy, but of the Polish military and state apparatus, including the majority of the Sejm [Polish parliament] and the city administration and city council. The Polish and Jewish workers parties, organized in a local workers' council, appeared against the pogrom, but the weak results of the intervention of the workers' council were proof alone that this initiative that arose in the early revolutionary excitement among the working masses in Poland had already lost all its tangible political significance.

The third Czenstochow pogrom in 1937, took place in the era of the frightening intensification of fascism in Poland that was a link in the bloody chain of pogroms that extended from Przytyk, to Minsk Mazowiecki and Brisk, and was one of the terrible culminations of the cold economic pogrom that intolerably oppressed the Jewish population in the country. Both camps of the Polish reactionary bourgeoisie, the ruling Sanacia [Jozef Pilsudski's political movement] camp and the sullen opposition Endekes struck their hands over the heads of the Jews. The Black Wing of “home–grown” Polish Hitlerism already waved over the country like a portent of the black swastika that in the course of two years came to Poland on the German bombers. Organized Polish workers already clearly understood then how when anti–Semitism appeared in the history of Poland, it was a poisoned weapon that recently has been aimed exclusively against the workers' movement. Polish workers in Czenstochow protested, sent delegations to the regime, split into [factions] and severed connections among themselves. But the Polish workers' movement in Poland, just as others in other nations, did not succeed in defeating fascism. The foundation of the misfortune of Polish Jewry and of the later extraordinary catastrophe lay in the tragedy of the Polish worker class.


The “Rabinek” – the Pogrom in 1902

by Mark Liber, Supplemented by Shimkha Lev

The first pogrom against the Jews in Czenstochow broke out on Monday, the 11th of August 1902 (Erev Tisha B'Av [the eve of the Ninth of Av – fast day commemorating the destruction of the First and Second Temple in Jerusalem] (5662). We were then still ashamed of the word “pogrom,” so we called it a rabinek [from the Yiddish word, rabiner, to loot or plunder].

This rabinek was described at that time in the illegal Arbeter Shtime [Voice of the Worker], number 30 (of October 1902). We provide this report here word for word:

“Three days earlier, before the pogrom took place, there was a parade in Czenstochow in honor of the new church that had opened that day. On the morning of that day, the police overseer and the president of the city (gorodskoy golowva – mayor) informed several Jews (unofficially) that a pogrom was being prepared in the city and they warned the Jews that they should not appear near the new “shrine.” Those taking part in the pogrom themselves said later that they had not made the pogrom on the 8th of August as was planned because they 'did not want to disturb the holiday'… It was obvious that it only was a coincidence that a spark had fallen into a box of gunpowder at the market. Several Jews had fought and come to blows with a Christian woman at the market. The Jews as well as the Christian woman were professional thieves. The Jewish leadership had for a long time asked the police to send these Jews from the city, but the bribed Czenstochow police let these Jews remain in the city to spite those [who had made the request]. The Christian woman who the Jews had beaten already had been sentenced three times as a thief. And the Russian government and Polish 'society' gave the fighting among thieves as the main reason for the 'unrest'…
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“The beaten Christian woman was not even badly wounded and on the same day she signed herself out of the hospital. But, despite this, everyone, even the doctors in the hospital, spread a rumor that the Christian woman had died.

“On the 11th of August, at half past 12 in the afternoon, at the time when they left for the factories to eat lunch, a mob of brickworkers (mulaczes), factory workers and young gentile boys began to throw stones into Jewish shops at the 'old market.' No police were seen there; there were no soldiers in Czenstochow. They had been sent away on maneuvers. The Jews began to close their shops. Then several policemen and a commissioner (pristov) and a gendarme officer appeared. The workers dispersed, beating every Jew in a long kaftan on the way. The 'old market,' the center of Jewish trade, was calm then. However, at the same time, a 'pogrom' began in the poor streets. A group that consisted of workers, artisans and the unemployed, who were then many in Czenstochow because of the [economic] crisis, began to break windowpanes in the Jewish warehouses and pillage the goods. They broke into the houses, broke furniture, tore the bedding, and the feathers from the Jewish pillows flew far. The Jewish shops on Krakower Street, in which more Christians than Jews lived, had particularly bad damage. [Some] did not allow their warehouses in the Christian courtyards to be looted, as for example, Kriger, who defended his property with a revolver in his hand. There were no police at the beginning and afterward they were afraid of what to do because there were too few [of them]. Then when patrols arrived of a few soldiers, who remained in the city. they began to arrest individually the most stubborn rioters and led them to the police station (utshastok – police). Several of the arrestees also fought the police. At five o'clock, it became a little quieter for a while, but Krakower Street already was completely looted. Everyone waited in fear for the pogrom to begin again around seven o'clock when the factory workers left work. A deadly fear spread among the Jewish population and the rich Jews began to run from Czenstochow.

At one o'clock on the next day, the police sent a telegram to the Piotrokow governor. Afterward, when the mob broke the windowpanes in the Jewish synagogue where Jews were gathered in honor of Tisha B'Av, the Jewish community turned to the high ranking nachalnik [commander] for help. But he hid and did not even go out to the Jews… Then the community sent a telegram to the governor and the general governor. The police created patrols of soldiers who had remained in the city and of the tamazhne straznikes [customs guards] (soldiers who guard against contraband). Among the soldiers who had remained in the city were many Jews, and the Polish anti-Semites then spread a rumor that only because of this had the soldiers not refused to shoot into the crowd.

The police turned its entire attention to protecting the main street in the city, the remarkable Alejes on which were located the branch of the Gosudarstvennyi [State] Bank, several bankers' offices and various government facilities… The surrounding areas remained, as is said, “in God's care.” No one protected them. Therefore, they were badly looted. Various distinguished people began to appear at the First Aleje at close to seven o'clock… Everyone waited in fear for what would happen at seven o'clock… And actually, right at seven, the factories began to release masses of workers who joined with those who already were waiting at the boulevard. With shouts of “Hurray! Let's get the Jews!” And with terrible whistling from whistles, the mob went to the Second Aleje. The soldiers drove the mob and beat [the mob] with the butts of their rifles. The mob dispersed, came together again, but the soldiers finally were successful in driving them completely from the Alejes. The masses then assailed anew at the “old market” and in the Czenstochowka [area of Czenstochow].

Meanwhile, despite this, the police protected the rich quarter and didnot let anyone approach it. The entire city looked as it did during the time of the [First World] war and in the poor quarters, meanwhile, the mob, not meeting any opposition, rampaged widely. They robbed and destroyed all of the Jewish warehouses, beginning with the small shops and ending with the large, rich department stores, which had placed “icons” and candles in the windows. In addition to this, only the Jewish street, Targowa, escaped, where the

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Jewish butchers had promised that they would lay down on the spot anyone who dared to loot [the Jewish shops].

The mob broke into several parts, one of them attacked Mejtkowicz's grocery store, broke off the doors and stole the goods, despite the fact that the vice governor and prosecutor who had come to Czenstochow at seven o'clock with a few soldiers were nearby. They began to convince those taking part in the pogrom that they should disperse. But this did not help and they did not stop their looting. The mob was warned twice that it should disperse; twice bullets were fired in vain, but this only provoked the mob more and they began to throw stones at the soldiers. Then there was substantial gunfire; two were left dead on the spot and several were seriously wounded… It is interesting that there were several Jews among the wounded. Therefore, it should be assumed that the soldiers shot not only at the aggressors but also at those who were attacked.

It was quiet after the massacre, but the looters did not stop in the surrounding streets. There was particularly severe looting on Warszawer Street and in Czenstochowka; here, several from the mob [of people] threw several stones at the Tsar Aleksander II memorial. And the singing of the Polish national song, Jeszcze Polska nie zginela [Poland Has Not Yet Perished], was heard. Because of this, several later spread a rumor that the pogrom ostensibly carried a political character…

They wanted to set fire to several places during the pogrom (such as, for example, Helman's warehouses were doused with kerosene). But they were not successful. They succeeded in setting fire to only one house near the old synagogue. The pogrom stopped at 11 o'clock at night and at 12 o'clock, when the mob had robbed almost everything, 60 stojkowes (gorodovyyes [policemen]) from Lodz and 100 Cossacks from Bendin arrived. The governor and the prosecutor from Warsaw Okruzhnoy Sud [District Court] also came and the arrests started: stolen goods also were found among the arrestees.

In total, the pogrom left 120 stores looted, two dead and masses of wounded people [and] dozens entirely impoverished, who were sentenced to go to beg for donations. But this was only the material damage brought by the “Rabinek.” This damage was not as terrible as was the spiritual and moral damage. The abyss that divided the Jewish and Polish populations deepened. The separation and the hate between them became sharper. Only those in the Russian regime won.

Such a situation was terrifying for the Tsarist regime when the Jews were so persecuted and oppressed that they had to find their only help from the bullets of soldiers and the whips of the Cossacks against the wild violence of another people, of the Poles, who also were trampled under the feet of the Tsarist regime. These are the facts. However, what was their cause? Who is responsible for this terrible war between two people whose historical destiny itself, it seems, calls for a fraternal bond against the common enemy? At each new chance, this question appears for us and it is necessary to reflect on it…

The Czenstochow data did not come unexpectedly for anyone who was acquainted with Jewish life in Poland. What we were accustomed to encountering in our everyday life was just sharply expressed in this pogrom. This was the deeply rooted anti-Semitism of the Polish nobility (szlachta [nobility], dvoryanstvo [gentry]), of the small and great Bolsheviks and of all of the strata of the Polish people who had not yet been freed from their destructive influence. In order to characterize the relationship between the Polish and Jewish population in Czenstochow, it is enough to provide several facts from the lives of the higher strata of the society (the Jewish working masses in Czenstochow at that time were still ignorant and still lived completely apart from the Polish workers); the principal maxim of this relationship was “Down with the Jews!” They [the Jews] were not assured by such a relationship, not even the “Poles of Mosaic belief” (as the Jewish intelligentsia and bourgeoisie of Poland called themselves), who were always ready as a result of a merciful look from someone, from a wielmożni pan [great gentleman], to reject solidarity with the Jewish people… A constant struggle against the Jews was carried out in all temples, starting at the temple of Hermes (the god of trade) and ending with the temple of Melpomene (the goddess of theater art), not to mention the Roman Catholic temples where the “holy fathers” constantly provoked the fanatical masses against the “non-believers” for “God's honor.”

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There is in Czenstochow, for example, a “credit society” that was founded with the help of the Jewish bourgeoisie. The majority of members of this society are Jews. Jews also are a third of the board of directors of this society. Christians are in two higher positions in the society. And when there was a vacancy for a third position, an intelligent Jewish woman was proposed. The judgment was that she had proved that she knew the work well and that she could take this position, but only under the [guidance] of the Polish members of the society. The woman refused [to accept] this condition and they openly made the declaration that if this position were to given to a Jewish woman, they could not be completely sure that the society would remain “a truly Christian one”… This referred to the Jews in the Temple of the Golden Calf [worship of money]. But there is no surprise here. It is known that where money was dealt with, where the road had to be cleared of competition, there one could use all means. But we saw the same attitudes in the temple of “pure” art, [no Jews] in the musical society Lutnia, [no Jews] in the “Society of Lovers of Dramatic Art.” They did not admit Jews… and we could provide hundreds of such examples.

The relationship of the Polish “intelligentsia” to the Jews in Czenstochow was particularly clearly expressed at the time of the last pogrom itself. There was no one among the entire “intelligentsia” who tried to have an effect on the mob, to hold it back. On the contrary, everyone openly sympathized with taking part in the pogrom. A regret was often expressed that they had not slaughtered all of the Jews. We provide only a few facts.

Wigowski (his father was a seller at a “government” warehouse), a sixth class gymnazie [secondary school] student, sold whiskey to the neighboring crowd and bartered it for bottles of wine stolen from a Jewish wine cellar all evening despite the fact that that day the police had forbidden the sale of spirits later than seven o'clock (this fact was known in court). Not very far from this “civilized” savage, his “elders” – people who had graduated from the university – also left [without interfering]. On the street they [the Jews] turned to the well-known Dr. Bieganski, the author of an article about medical ethics (morals) and asked that he give medical aid to the Jews wounded [during the pogrom]. Doctor Bieganski refused to do so. He left the sick in the hands of the police. He turned around and walked calmly further on his way. His colleague, Dr. Wczesnieski, also did the same thing. A Jewish woman with a broken bone was brought to him so that he could provide medical help; he drove her away with laughter. The lawyer, Paciorkowski, encountering one of his Jewish acquaintances on the street, said to him in a satisfied voice, “Aha, ours are beating yours!” The beer manufacturer, Karl Szwede, stood with several of his brew-masters and watched several healthy young men beat a Jewish boy; he very much enjoyed the deed and laughed uncontrollably… (The Jews then initiated a boycott of his beer.) I believe that the facts speak clearly… They provide an understanding of the sources of the pogroms.

I only have to add that in Włocławek (Warsaw gubernia [province]) there was a proclamation not long ago that called for “murdering the Jews.” There also were such rumors about Warsaw and other cities. Understand that not all of this news needed to be believed, but in any case, they showed us again that the Czenstochow pogrom did not take place for local reasons. The sources lie a great deal deeper – in general in the relations between the Jewish and Polish populations.

On the question of the relationship of the Christian population in general to the Jews, I cite particularly the question of Jewish-Polish relations in general for several reasons. First of all, the history of the Jews in Poland is in the full sense different from the Jews in Lithuania and Russia. This was one side. On the other side, anti-Semitism was stronger, without a doubt, among the Polish population that among the Russians. Anti-Semitism was absorbed by the majority of the Polish society and was also characteristic of the zagenanta [informed] “intellegentsia.” The press is also full of him [the member of the intelligentsia]. Even such a respectable organ as I believe Pravda to be did not renounce him when long ago he appeared against Zionism from a pure anti-Semitic standpoint, expressing its solidarity with the Jew Orensztajn who prostituted himself for the anti-Semitic gang – and with the newspaper, Gazeta Polska [Polish Newspaper], which bribed him. We must here quickly mention that we

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were principally opponents of the Zionists and we welcomed every struggle with them, both legal and illegal, that was led from a socialist-progressive basis. Yet we must with all of our strength fight with the gentlemen who want “to throw out the baby with the water,” who think that with the destruction of Zionism, the Jewish question itself would be eliminated. Of the entire Polish press, only one, Golos (under its then editor), was a genuinely progressive newspaper, also in its connection to the Jewish press.

I end my correspondence with a call to the Polish comrades, that they seriously (earnestly – editors) respond to the Czenstochow drama and see how much it is possible for them to not repeat such phenomena that can lead to an alienation and mistrust between the Jewish and Polish proletariat. It is still laughable that until now there is no socialist brochure against anti-Semitism in Polish; the P.P.S [Polish Socialist Party], which is always connected with the Bund, has not developed any feeling of solidarity with the Jewish proletariat and with the proletariat of other ethnic groups.

 

Remarks by Shimkha Lew

According to information from “Help from the Warsaw General Government for the Police Division,” (chief of the gendarmerie in Poland), written to the Warsaw General Governor on the 13th of November 1902 (old style, according to the old Russian chronological system), there appeared in Lodz an appeal about the “anti-Jewish unrest” in Czenstochow (that is how the Czenstochow pogrom was known in Tsarist administrative language). The appeal was distributed to the Lodz group of the P.P.S. by the intellectual, “Boloslav.” The police could not find out who “Boloslav” was. The police seized 43 copies of this appeal. The same appeal was found in Czenstochow and Sosnowiec on the 6th of October 1902. The 6th of October old style is the 19th of October new style, the accepted [calendar] style in Europe in general and Poland in particular. Thus there was no discrepancy in the dates. Alas, we do not have the full text of the appeal, which was not filed away. However, we have a little content from the proclamation that the gendarmerie chief gave to the General Governor and for a lack of a choice, we will have to be satisfied with it.

This is the content in a word by word translation from Russian:

“The appeal condemns the anti-Jewish unrest in Czenstochow and advises the [class] conscious workers, worn out by toil in the revolutionary struggle, in case such kinds of disorder were repeated, to make use of them on behalf of the worker's cause: because this is necessary, to make use of the situation created to convert the senseless anti-Jewish appearance into a [class] conscious demonstration against exploitation and against each sort of violation.”
(Archive of the Warsaw General Governor. General number 101.654, number 8 of 1902, page 190 of the first director, second commission).

Naturally it is difficult to draw a general conclusion from a summary. The style, the language that speaks about the mood and spirit of the writer, is important in a proclamation. Relying on the dry administrative language of the Tsarist gendarme managing committee is impossible. At least it can be noted that although we do not know how strong and open the P.P.S. [Polish Socialist Party] reaction was to the Czenstochow pogrom, we do know that the P.P.S. did not remain indifferent. And this must count for the sake of historical truth, so as not to be misled by the party passion in the struggle of that time and of which the correspondent of the Arbeter Shtime [Workers Voice] is probably not free.


The Second Pogrom

by H. Feiwelowicz, A. Khrobolowski

The second Czenstochow pogrom took place on Tuesday, the 27th of May 1919. A. Kh., writes about it in detail in his article in the Czenstochower Togblat [Czenstochow Daily Newspaper] of Monday, the 2nd of June 1919, under the title, “The Guilty.”

The black heroes of liberated Poland were finally here in Czenstochow – in the holy residence that carries the godly mother, the patroness of Poland and a symbol of human love – and they generously harvested the fruit of their long, difficult work: the murder of five people in a terrible manner. Dozens beaten to death. An entire row of houses burned. Many widows and orphans,

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hundreds of bloodied bodies and thousands of bloody wounds in the souls of the entire Jewish population.

This happened on the eve of the holy Christian holiday of Himlgang [Feast of the Ascension – the 29th of May 1919].

They had the full right to take pride in their own work… The massacres, the cruelty of wild mobs, which carried the dead by the feet until the entrails of the dead came out; who so cruelly did not respect the young and old, no man or woman; the carousing and frolicking and dancing by the children around the bodies of those murdered; the great participation of the Polish school youths in robbing and murdering, showed very clearly how their work was to poison the souls of the masses completely with human hate and ferocious blood thirstiness.

It is no surprise. But it is a surprise that we escaped, although we had victims. Certainly, reading all the notes, articles and appeals in Goniec Częstochowski [political, social, economic and literary journal] and Kurier Częstochow [Częstochow Courier] (two Polish newspapers that were published in Czenstochow), one could look carefully at the consistency with which the agitation work was carried out. Every day there was more news about how Jewish Bolsheviks ruined Poland, [about] attacks in Lemberg, Pinsk, Vilna, on the Polish military, [about] shooting at them from the corners, trying with all their strength so that Poland would not impede them at the Paris Peace Conference [Versailles Peace Conference], [about] carrying out Bolshevik propaganda and, chiefly, starving Poland and causing large price increases – and you will understand how they turned people into blood–thirsty animals.

The trainers themselves were afraid of calling out the animals in their most terrifying form. And several priests who had for so long preached from the pulpit about the true “love of man,” of hate of the Jews, tried to restrain the infuriated mob in several cases.

However, it already was late. “You called me here and I am here,” the animal argued in the language of Balaam's ass. “You have incited us against the Jews until now and now you yourself want to defend him” – the wild masses shouted. “You prostituted yourself for money to the Holy Father with this thing.”

The Kurier actually wrote correctly that the bloody unrest had been invited by the secret, hidden enemy of Poland. But it is not true that they were secret and unknown. Not true! The true enemy of Poland was well known. Yes, well known! However, no one disturbed them in their work; their newspapers were not closed; their appeals were completely legal; their clubs did not endure a pogrom. No one made a move to lay their hands on them, certainly not all of the representatives of the people, from the highest Sejm [parliament] to the city council…

The chronicle of that horrible day for the Jews of Czenstochow was as follows:

Poland was in the middle of ardor over the military conflict that began right at [Poland's] liberation. Among the various military formations quartered in Czenstochow, as a city near Upper Silesia, where the fight against the Germans took place, were the Hallercziks [followers of the anti–Semitic Lieutenant General Jozef Haller] – the legion that Haller, a former teacher of gymnastics at the Lemberger School, organized in France and Poznanczykes, Germanized Poles mobilized in the Poznan area, which was given to Poland after the First World War. They were not able to speak Polish. Therefore, they knew well the trade of cutting Jewish beards and banging Jewish heads. This happened every day all over Poland and also in the streets of Czenstochow.

Unemployment and hunger were rampant among the masses. The factories stood empty. The poor masses maintained themselves through “charity” with the help that mainly came from America. Demonstrations by the unemployed, who demanded work, would often take place in front of the city council. The bitterness among the masses grew and with it the agitation. The city hall organized a little public work to pave the streets. A majority of the workers worked with spades and hatchets on the Second Aleje.

A lighted match was thrown accidentally or on purpose into the embittered and agitated atmosphere as into a cask of gunpowder. There was a rumor that a Jew had shot a Hallerczik. In truth, no one was shot. Later, an investigation showed that a soldier, not a Hallerczik, had received some sort of blow on the head, but with what or how could not be determined.

Almost at the same time – this was at noon – two policemen went to a Jewish feldsher [barber–surgeon], Moshe Nasanowicz, who had a hair establishment at the Second Aleje and told him to provide aid to the wounded. Nasanowicz

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took his tools and went with the policemen. A rumor spread among some of the city workers on the street that the Jew who had shot the Hallerczik had been arrested and he was being led [by the policemen]. They immediately attacked Moshe Nasanowicz, the feldsher, who was walking, accompanied by two policemen. They murdered him on the spot with spades and hatchets. Other hooligans, soldiers and schoolboys immediately joined the city workers. The mob went to the poor Jewish streets and began their bloody work.

The pogrom in general was murderous and cruel. The mob was brutal and wild. Each Jew they found in the street was beaten mercilessly. A large number of Jewish shops and homes were robbed. A large number of the military from various formations took part in the pogrom. The pogrom lasted all of Tuesday and persisted through Tuesday night into Wednesday.

On Wednesday morning a horrible picture of the destruction was revealed to the Czenstochow Jewish population. The four who were murdered lay in the morgue of the Jewish hospital (the fifth, Nasanowicz, was at the Hospital Ste. Maria at the Second Aleje) as dead evidence of savagery and brutality that had very few equals in history.

 

The Attack on the Shoykhetim

The shoykhetim [ritual slaughterers], Nakhemia Gotlib, Yehezkiel Bergman and Moshe Dzialowski, were in the slaughterhouse in the synagogue courtyard. They heard the approach of a mob of Hallerczikes; they hid in the residence of the Christian janitor. The mob entered the house; first they dragged the shoykhet Gotlib out to the courtyard and beat him for a long time with crowbars and stones until he lay dead. The other two succeeded in escaping. On the way, they [the mob] attacked shoykhet Yehezkiel Bergman and beat him so badly that he had to be taken to the Jewish hospital.

While murdering shoykhet Gotlib, they [the mob] stole 1,200 marks and his slaughtering knives. The murdered one left a wife and six children. A coat and 500 marks were taken from shoykhet Moshe Dzialowski.

Then the hooligans entered the residence of the synagogue shamas [sexton], Makhel Rauzenberg, and severely beat his wife and his son, Malekh, who was taken to the Jewish hospital.

 

The Attack on the Synagogue

The pogromists then left for the synagogue, tore off the door and the gate, tore open closets and the Aron–Kodesh [ark in which the Torah scrolls are kept] and searched everywhere. A Torah scroll was later found lying on the floor.

 

On Garncarska Street

The pogromists broke open the gate at Garncarska 34, knocked out almost all of the house's windowpanes, tore out the window frames, broke off the doors in the residence of the baker, Yekl Gelbard, stole all of the clothing from the closets and about 700 marks. The young Avraham Shimeon Gelbard was severely beaten.

At house number 38, the pogromists tore off the doors from the Finklsztajn's residence where they only found his sick wife and a daughter. The mob overturned everything in the house, broke open a small safe. In the same house, they broke open the doors of the Jewish residents, Itshe Mendl Dukat, Itshe Meir Tuchmajer and Itshe Kantor. They searched for weapons everywhere and they took a hatchet from one house.

 

On Mostowa Street

Shlomo Brakman's shop and house at Mostowa 11 was a terrible ruin. The mob broke everything they found there, not leaving any unbroken windowpanes. Most of the Brakman family suffered. In addition to their murdered son, Moshe Brakman, the hooligans also badly beat the shop owner, Shlomo, who had to be taken to the hospital. His two daughters were wounded and his second son, Leizer, had a broken leg.

When the hooligans broke into the Rajnman's residence on the same street, the latter grabbed a hatchet to defend himself. The pogromists called the police for help in disarming the Jew. The policemen saved Rajnman and gave him back the money that had been taken from him.

 

The Train from Kielce

A mob of hooligans waited for the train that arrived from Kielce and with the shout, “Hura Na

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Żydow” [Let's hurry, get the Jew], they attacked the arriving Jewish passengers and badly beat them. The [army] recruit, Meir Werthajm, from Włoszczowa, who had come to present himself to the military, was beaten so badly that he fainted. Mrs. Sziper and Helberg, the student, who took him into their residence, saved him. They [the mob] also stole his gold watch. M. Faktor of Piotrkow, who arrived on the train, was attacked by a group of Polish students who took a bread and other things he was carrying with him. The Christian owners of the Hotel Kaliski on Dojazd Street did not permit the Jews who escaped from the mob to spend the night [in the hotel]. He told the Jews that it was completely proper that there was a pogrom against them.

Mostly young people and students took part in the action. The Jewish residents at house number 9 on Dojazd Street saw their janitor's son leading a group of young hooligans who attacked the arriving passengers with sticks and beat them mercilessly.

 

Other Details

Mordekhai Apelbaum and his wife and children [living at] Warszawer 39 arrived from Kielce at nine–thirty. His 18–year old son, Yehiel, received a heavy blow of a fist in his eyes, which blinded him. Apelbaum himself was attacked by a student from Sudajka's gymnazie [secondary school]. A Jewish girl from Dojazd 13 ran to him, protected Apelbaum with her elbows and began to shout at the hooligan that he better kill her rather than her father… That moved a priest and an officer to save Apelbaum and take him to the Hotel Angelski. Mrs. Tamczik, the owner of the hotel, helped the Jews take him to her house.

Alta Nakha Zajdman, 15 years old, Nadrzeczna 41, was attacked in the synagogue courtyard by the pogromists who cut her severely in the head and the face. The girl became deranged.

Shmuel Fridman, who arrived on the Kielce train, was attacked by Hallercziks who beat him in the face and blackened his eyes. All the linen, furniture, shoes and other things worth several thousand marks were stolen from Mordekhai Sznajer, the factory owner. The hooligans chopped up the door, chopped the cabinets, the beds and stole money totaling 600 marks from the residence of Josef Broniatowski, at Nadrzeczna 46. Moshe Grinberg, Garncarska 70, was severely beaten in the head and on the sides.

A mob, among whom were the students from Kaszminski's gymnazie, attacked Moshe Buchner, Warszawer 35, and began to beat him with sticks. Buchner wanted to save himself in house number 37 on the same street. The Christian neighbors in the house began to hit him from all sides. He fainted. Standing up, he dragged himself to a house that belonged to a Christian, Kapolski. But the neighbors in the house again barred the gate and would not let him in.

On Ogrodowa Street, two Christians attacked Shmuel Mendl Pajsak, Krakower 23, and beat him over the head with sticks. When he fainted, the hooligans, thinking he was dead, left him alone.

Other victims of the pogrom were:

Meir Berkowicz, Senatorska 20; Borukh Briliant, Wielun; Ahron Fajerman, Nadrzeczna 2; Ludwik Montag, Ostatni Grosz; Ahron Dovid Goldberg, Warszawer 28; Yakov Szpalten, the widow Praszkewicz, Moshe Dawidowicz, Avraham Finkelsztajn, Nadrzeczna 38.

 

The Police

In general, the police did not get involved and did not use the necessary means to stop the pogrom. Individual policemen who tried to stop the raging mob were shouted at by the hooligans with the words, pachołek zydowska [Jewish stooge]. The mob threw the police commandant, Proczmawski, from his horse when he tried to chase the pogromists. However, in general, the police remained “neutral” for the entire time of the frightening events and did not use the appropriate means to defend the lives and property of the Jewish population.

 

The Funeral

The funeral of the martyrs took place on Thursday, the 29th of May. Thousands of Jews began to assemble at nine o'clock in the morning at the municipal hospital. An honorary guard stood on both sides of the hospital. At around noon,

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the body of Nasanowicz, the murdered feldsher [barber–surgeon], was taken out of the hospital. A guard of young Jewish men walked on both sides of the casket. The members of the synagogue council of the Jewish community, the Jewish councilmen from the Czenstochow city council, a delegation from the Jewish press, among whom was found the editor of the Lodzer Togenblat [Lodz Daily Newspaper], Y. Unger, a delegation from the Jewish gymnazie, with the director, Prof. Balaban at the head and representatives of all Czenstochow Jewish societies and professional unions, walked at the head of the magnificent funeral. Dr. Rozenblat, the Lodz deputy at the Sejm [Polish parliament], took part in the funeral.

 

At the Jewish Hospital

The funeral [procession] stopped in front of the Jewish Hospital, from which the remaining four martyrs were taken out. The coffins were carried to the cemetery by the friends

 

cze174.jpg
The Funeral Procession

 

and comrades of those murdered. One of the [pallbearers] was the deputy, Dr. Rozenblat.

With the appearance of the coffins of the four martyrs through the gate of the Jewish Hospital, a terrible lament broke out among the many thousands in the crowd. Everyone, without exception, cried bitterly. Even the policemen who were maintaining order could not hold in the tears and wiped them.

Even more terrible were the voices of lamentation at the cemetery where the martyrs were buried in one large mass grave, one next to the other. The voices were indescribable each time the khazan [cantor] recited the El Maleh Rahamim [God full of compassion – the mourner's prayer recited at a funeral] and called out the names of the fallen victims.

There were no eulogies. It was quiet, but there was a demonstration against the glaring injustice that none of those present will ever be able to forget.

 

The Czenstochower Pogrom in the Polish Sejm

At the meeting of the Polish Sejm on Friday, the 30th of May, Hartglas, the Jewish deputy, brought an urgent proposal about the pogrom in Czenstochow. The deputy Oszecki answered that there was no special information about such a pogrom. The urgency of the proposal consequently was rejected. The Dwa Grosza [Two Groshen], the anti–Semitic Warsaw newspaper, reporting about the proposal of the Deputy Hartglas, wrote that the entire story about the pogrom was a fiction…

 

In Czenstochow City Council

A meeting of the Czenstochow City Council took place on Wednesday, the 28th of May. The chairman of the city council was Dr. Nowak, a well–known Czenstochow anti–Semite. The Jewish councilmen entered the hall with downcast heads and did not greet anyone. The first item of the meeting was to send a condolence telegram to the Čečín Polish workers who perished in a catastrophe in a coalmine (Čečín belonged to Czechoslovakia).

The president [mayor] of Czenstochow, Bandtke Stenczinski, read a declaration about the pogrom in which it was said: At a time when we stand a total of 22 viorst [.62 of a mile or a little over a kilometer] from the enemy's border and the unity of all residents is necessary, there are provocateurs and Bolsheviks[1]) who agitate for one part of the population against the other and unrest breaks out that is so harmful for the fatherland. The president expressed regret for the sad events and hoped that it would not happen again.

The Fareinikte [United] faction, through its councilman, Rafal Federman, put forward an urgent proposal undersigned by all of the Jewish councilmen and Polish Socialists (P.P.S. – Polish Socialist Party), which demanded that the city council publicly condemn the brutal murder and attack against the Jewish population, designate a commission that would search for the reasons for yesterday's pogrom,

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establish the extent of the harm of the sufferers and take steps to turn over the guilty to the hands of justice.

A separate urgent proposal was made by the P.P.S. in which it was demanded that the military units that took part in the pogrom be removed from Czenstochow immediately, that an investigating commission be created with the participation of the Jewish community and that the interior ministry should designate a sum of state money to support the families of the victims of the pogrom.

Councilman Yosef Aronowicz (Bund) declared in the name of all of the Jewish councilmen that the urgency of the proposal did not need to be justified. The city council only accepted the urgency of the proposal but did not permit the proposal itself to be discussed and did not bring it to a vote, only turning it over to the municipal authorities. Councilman Federman and other Jewish councilmen protested against this and left the hall.

At the second meeting of the city council on the 5th of June, Councilman Aleksander Bem (Poalei–Zion [Marxist–Zionists]) inquired of the city council why there was no answer to the question about the pogrom that had been handed over to the city council the week before.

The president declared that he had given all of the material about the matter to the interior ministry. Councilmen Sztiler, Zandsztajn (Zionist) and Helman appeared against the president. Then a proposal was entered to interrupt the discussion. Councilman Federman protested sharply against this and said: “At the last meeting our mouths were shut through a maneuver and again they want to keep us quiet. The city council sends sympathetic telegrams to the Polish workers in other lands, but will not condemn the brutal murder of innocent people who appear before their eyes.” We cannot remain calm when we see how the murderers who commit the horrible murders walk through the streets freely.” The anti–Semitic majority of the city council decided to end the discussion.

 

Investigations

On the 1st of June a coalition commission arrived in Czenstochow to investigate the pogrom. The commission consisted of two Americans, two from England and two from France. The commission convened with various members of the Jewish community, Nakhum Asz the rabbi, Shmuel Goldsztajn, Glikson the lawyer, Leon Wajnberg, Dr. Kahn and Dr. Wolberg. The Jewish representatives informed the mission about the entire flow of the events and the reasons that led to the pogrom.

Bek, the vice minister, came to Czenstochow to investigate the pogrom and as a result of a conference with the editors of the two Polish newspapers in Czenstochow, Goniec and Kurier, which the Jewish population had accused of being the main agitators and most responsible for the pogrom, he [the vice minister] demanded that the editors not write anything against the Jews for 10 days…

 

Thousand Mark Reward

The police published an appeal in connection with the pogrom, which offered 1,000 marks to those who would find out who had wounded the Hallerczik, which led to the outbreak of the pogrom. A delegation of Jewish recruits who appeared before the police commandant asked the commandant why no reward had been published for those who found the murderers of the five Jewish victims, who still were walking around the streets of Czenstochow freely.

 

A Document of Accusation

A delegation from the Czenstochow Worker Delegates Council gave the interior minister in Warsaw the following memorandum:

Czenstochow, the 27th of May 1919
To the Interior Ministry

On the 27th of May, this year, the executive committee of the Czenstochow Worker Delegates Council sent the following telegram:

We have learned that the People's Militia is leaving Czenstochow. Because of the agitated mood and the possibility of anti–Semitic unrest, we ask for a halt to the departure of the militia in which the population has trust. The ministry disparaged our warning. Today a pogrom took place against the Jews in which the Hallercziks and Poznanczykes, street youths and dark powers took part.

The police command, the city command and

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military leadership showed a powerlessness and helplessness in relation to the mob.

The blood of the three victims fell on the consciences of those who could have prevented the events by leaving the militia in Czenstochow and who did not consider it appropriate to fulfill our request.

The Czenstochower Worker Delegates Council
Chairman, Josef Dzobo.

 

cze176a.jpg
Josef Dzobo

 

The murdered:

Moshe Nasanowicz, a feldsher [barber surgeon], Second Aleje 20, murdered by a mob when he went to bandage a wounded person accompanied by two policemen.

Hershl Dzialoszynski, 54 years old, a broker, beaten with sticks and hatchets by hooligans at the old market until he fell unconscious on the ground and his brains left his head. He was brought dying to the hospital where he died immediately.

cze176b.jpg
Nakhemia Gotlib

Nakhemia Gotlib, First Aleje 2, a shoykhet [ritual slaughterer], 45 years old, murdered in the synagogue courtyard by the hooligans. He was brought dying to the hospital where he died immediately.

Moshe Brakman, Mostowa 11, 26 years old, attacked by the murderers when he wanted to enter the gate of his house. He was brought in dying condition to the hospital where he died immediately.

cze176c.jpg
Anshil Cymerman

Anshil Cymerman, 20 years old, a bakery worker, Garncarska 14, attacked by the murderers when he wanted to enter the gate of his house. He was brought in dying condition to the hospital where he suffered terribly and died on Wednesday morning.

Severely wounded:

Binem Wajnrit, 37 years old, Targowa 5, terribly beaten in the face and hands. He was standing at the market with goods; the murderers attacked him, throwing him in the gutter and they stabbed him until he lay unconscious.

Mordekhai Czeszniewski: 63 years old, a Jewish janitor at the Talmud–Torah [primary school for poor boys]. He wanted to close the gate to protect the children; the murderers attacked him and beat him severely.

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Other severely wounded who were at home and in hotels were:

Meir Kalman Kaminski, Fabryczna 7 (robbed of money, linen and the like).

Gedalia Perlman, (his wife and daughter were stabbed).

Elihu Biber, 57 years old, Koszarowa 28.

Yehoshua Himelman, 24 years old, Garncarska 66.

Hershl Pacanowski, Czelona 7.

Hershl Szwarin, Yisroel Kamelher, Dovid Szwarin, Garncarska 74.

Avraham Glik and Moshe Leib Glik, Krotka 21 (a large amount of goods was stolen from them).

Lightly wounded:

Yehezkiel Bergman; Moshe Szmahl; Gitl Szwarcbaum; Shlomo and Leizer Brakman (relatives of the murdered Moshe Brakman); Yehiel Klajnman; Yoskha Rozenberg; Shimkha Rajch; Moshe Goldberg; Meir Werthajm (Wloszczowa); M. Faktor (Pitrokow); Nakhemia Munowicz; Yakov Moshe Himelman; Chana Gold; Chana Morgensztern; Yitzhak Kaliszer, Straszica 16; Mrs. Gutman from Zawodzie; A. Bekerin; Avraham Gotajner, Krakower 10; Shmuel Kuperman of Wloszczowa (two officers saved him); Moshe Wajsberg from Wloszczowa, they took 500 kron and 60 marks from him; Shraga Slomnicki, Spadek 13; Shmuel Szapczak, Krakower 11; Henekh Fefer, Garncarski 59; Y. Sztajer and his wife, Fabryczna 5; Mrs. Goldberg, Fabryczna 9; Grajcer, Fabryczna 8; Yekl and Dovid Glik, Krotka 21; Maurici Najfeld, standing on a balcony, was hit in the head with a stone. Yeshaya Maszkowicz and Birnholc were wounded on Warszawer Street by Polish soldiers.

Hershl Birnbaun, 56 years old, Garncarska 65, broke a leg when the hooligans chased and beat him.

Dovid Poslaniec, Nadrzeczna 88, a hairdresser, 17 years old. The hooligans stole two haircutting machines, a scissors, a razor and 250 marks from him and murderously beat him.

Itzek Szpisman, 16 year old, Torowa 16, remained unconscious from the blows he received.

Mendl Majtles, 19 years old, Krakower 31. Shmuel Englender, 65 years old, Ogrodowa 27.

Josef Zalcberg, 56 years old, came from Zawierice to bring his son for his military service in the Polish Army. The hooligans attacked and severely beat him.


Editor's Footnote

  1. Compare the agitation of Kurier against the “Secret Bolsheviks” – Editor. Return


The Third Pogrom

Polish fascism began to arrogantly show its claws during the last years before the war. Polish fascists devotedly followed the German Hitlerists, although they themselves were threatened from there [Germany] with great danger, which carried with it the catastrophe of the 1st of September 1939. The hate for Jews was as strong as in the stronghold of the fascist regime. If the sincere voice of a Professor [Tadeusz] Kotarbinski was heard or of other sincere democrats, it was a voice in the desert. The Prystorowes[1], the dukes, the [Lucjan] Żeligowskis all had a say about what happened then in Poland and they agreed with the Premier–General [Flelcjan Sławoj] Składkowski: Owszem [yes]…

Then the [pogroms] really did happen in Przytyk, in Minsk–Mazowiecki, Brisk and Czenstochow and on and on.

It was in the morning on Shabbos [the Sabbath] on the 19th of June 1937. Stefan Baran, a train porter, a Polish acquaintance of Yosl[2] Pendrak, approached him not far from Maria Aleje and demanded money for whiskey from him. Pendrak refused. They began to argue and a fight immediately started. Then Pendrak drew his revolver and shot twice at Baran, who fell seriously wounded. Baran immediately died in the hospital. Pendrak was arrested and the police carried out an investigation.

At a quiet time the incident would have ended with this, but not in the heated atmosphere of hatred toward Jews encouraged and tolerated by the Polish government.

At once, at a secret call, secret groups began to gather, young Polish boys led by the Endeke [anti–Semitic Polish National Party] intelligentsia, which

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showed them where the Jews lived, and a pogrom began with all its manifestations, which had been developed in Tsarist Russian and improved upon in Poland. They began to break windowpanes, to break doors and windows, to break into shops and steal the goods, to cut open bedding and spread the feathers in the streets and to split Jewish heads. The pogrom lasted four days with little intervention from Składkowski's police. Twenty large Jewish businesses and dozens of Jewish shops were thus completely destroyed.

During the course of the events, according to the newspaper Tog [Day] (New York) and Folks–Zeitung [People's Newspaper] (Warsaw):

It began in Czenstochow on Shabbos, the 19th of June at 9:30 in the morning. The Jew, Avraham Zelwer, noticed that thieves wanted to rob his iron warehouse. He chased the thieves. Then [Zelwer] immediately was provoked by Stefan Baran, the porter, himself a member of the underworld and an adventurer who already had been to jail several times for criminal offenses. It also could be that Baran had a connection to the thieves who had been chased.

During the dispute between Zelwer and Baran, the 36–year old meat wagon driver Yosef Pendrak walked by. He intervened and defended the provoked Jew. During the fight, Pendrak shot his revolver twice and Baran was killed.

The incident took place in the morning and yet, according to plan, the pogrom did not break out until about 10 hours later, around six in the evening. During these 10 hours, the Endeke Party organized the ostensibly “spontaneous” turmoil of folkstsorn [popular fury]. Special couriers were sent out on motorcycles to the surrounding shtetlekh and villages by Endeke headquarters and mobilized the dark comrades who filled the streets of Czenstochow that evening. Mobs of local members of the underworld as well as the young students and part of the intelligentsia went out together to demonstrate and throw stones at the windows of the Jews. Signs appeared on Polish shops: Catholic. The Christians placed religious pictures and crosses in their windows.

When the pogrom already had started, the local police informed the central power in Warsaw that the incident did not have any serious character and that they would cope with it without any special police reinforcements. The “neutral” position of the police increased the fury of the hooligans and the pogrom flared up with wild enthusiasm.

The rest of the night passed in relative calm after a row of shops was demolished on the evening of Shabbos (the 19th of June) and the windowpanes of Jewish residences and shops were knocked out in a number of streets.

Meanwhile, the wild Christian mob began to rage against Jewish houses on the periphery of the city, robbing and demolishing Jewish houses and everything that came into their hands.

Thus was a row of Jewish shops demolished in Czenstochowka (a suburb); everything was stolen or destroyed. Whatever had any value. The residence of the bakery owner Urner was shattered in this way. A terrible assault also took place at Warszawska 338, at the residence of Kopl Haberman, whose entire furniture and bedding were destroyed. In addition, 150 gildn were stolen from him and he was severely wounded and his wife also was beaten.

This all happened on the day of Shabbos (we will later give the names of the wounded and the list of streets where the attacks in Czenstochow took place). On Sunday the hooligans were still aggressive. While on Shabbos they had waited for it to get dark, they did their fine pogrom work in the clear daylight on Sunday.

All told, the second day of the pogrom (Sunday) was a terrible one. Pieces of glass protruded from the beautiful exhibition show windows of the businesses. Broken shelves, pieces of goods lay around on the sidewalks in front of the shops. Metal venetian blinds split under the heavy blows of benches, which usually stood arranged in the Alejes [wide boulevards of Czenstochow]. It wasn't enough that the band of hooligans was armed with hatchets, knives, hammers and iron bars; they also made use of city benches on the streets.

Even the powszechna school (public school) was not treated with respect. However, this all occurred according to a plan: children were sent to the children's school.

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Fourteen and 15–year old children broke the windowpanes of the school with stones and chopped up the seats and all of the furniture inside.

For example, the hooligans committed such thing as: Wajnberg's house was being built on Jasnogorska Street. It was not yet entirely finished – they carried it away, not leaving even a small piece of wood.

A series of witnesses said that esteemed Christian merchants showed the hooligans which businesses were Jewish, what needed to be destroyed. A certain Zigmund Orlowski of the Third Aleje 36 led an entire band, commanding with a hatchet in his hand.

A large number of members of the mob carried valises and briefcases so they would be able to take the stolen goods with them. A number of women entered the city barefooted to work and, while robbing a shop, they chose a pair of shoes for themselves there.

There were cases in which the hooligans beat several Christians thinking they were Jews based on their appearance. A comical fact is that nothing helped the convert, Dr. Wajnblum, who hung holy pictures in his windows – all of his windowpanes were knocked out.

Word came that there was concern that order be restored after the intervention with the starosta [a city official] by a group of communal workers. Szczodrowski, the city president, also intervened with the starosta at the start of the unrest and he himself put out a call to the population [about ending the unrest].

The vice president, Professor [Josef] Dzobo (P.P.S. [Polish Socialist Party]), himself confirmed that he had seen how the hooligans had [committed] robberies undisturbed. The hooligans had thrown stones after him when he had driven by in an auto from the magistrat (city hall).

The situation worsened even more after the meeting on Sunday, the second day of the pogrom. The Jewish kehile [organized Jewish community] had held a special meeting and as a result dispatches were sent to the First Minister Gen. Składkowski, Kielce Voivode [province] and to the prosecutor of the county court. The content of the telegrams was that the situation in Czenstochow was dangerous and that the Jewish population was not receiving the proper protection.

On Sunday evening a rumor spread that the true slaughter of the Jews would take place on Monday. Police telephoned the kehile chairman, Yakov Rozenberg, and warned him that they had information that an attack was being prepared on the kehile premises. Therefore, the police asked that when the attack occurred they should call immediately. However, an hour later the telephone at the kehile premises “suddenly” was disconnected. When they [the kehile] turned to the main post office about having the telephone repaired, an excuse was ready: The telephone could not be repaired given that today was Sunday. Thus the kehile remained without a telephone.

All of the anti–Semitic workers were brought in methodically according to the precisely worked out plan from the headquarters of the Endekes. It is enough to remember that when the pogrom was in full force, the local Endeke newspaper, Goniec Czenstochowski [Czenstochowa Messenger] published an exact list of the streets in which the Jews had not yet been robbed… The pogromists had precise information about which house, which business and even which apartment in a house belonged to Jews.

The situation became tense with the fall of night. The mob, which had gathered in various parts of the city, became larger and took on a provocative attitude, making open threats that the real “scene” would take place at night (Sunday).

Meanwhile, information was obtained that a decree had arrived from the central regime in which it came out publically with complete intensity against the pogromists and for this purpose a special messenger from the Interior Ministry was to come. At approximately nine o'clock in the evening an energetic posture by the police could be seen and all of the streets were cleaned up in a short time. Seeing that it was difficult to do anything on Warszawer Street, the band of young hooligans left for Garncarska Street with the purpose of “carousing.” However, they ran away after seeing that a larger group of Jewish workers had assembled there. Thus Sunday night passed peacefully.

Early Monday (the 12th of June), movement in the city was very animated. However, all of the Jewish shops remained closed and heavy police patrols stood on the street corners. At around three o'clock [in the afternoon], the funeral of the murdered Baran took place under heavy police guard. Jews stormed the offices of the kehile all day to submit [information] about the losses they had suffered.

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Monday at noon, when it was learned that the funeral of the murdered Baran was taking place [in the afternoon], a mob of several thousand men gathered around the hospital and demanded that they release the body of the murdered one. The mood was red hot. Individual attacks against Jews began again. A stronger police patrol arrived after the intervention of the kehile and drove away the giant, agitated mob, which ran to the nearby alleys.

At around six in the evening the news arrived that it again was turbulent in a series of streets. There were cases in which they tried to set houses on fire. A band broke into the house of prayer and destroyed everything there. A fire was started at the corner of Mirowska and Garncarska. The firemen who were called out extinguished the fire. A band of Christian women attacked the emotionally disturbed girl, Kurland, at the old market and beat her murderously. The cigarette kiosk at the First Aleje belonging to the Jewish war veteran, Avraham Kawon, was set on fire.

The appeals for calm by the city president were constantly torn down. An illegal appeal by the Endekes filled with agitation and venomous provocation appeared in the city. A few thousand people had assembled at the grave of the stabbed Baran a day earlier. There were speeches [in accordance with the mood].

The provincial governor, [Waldyslaw] Dziadosz, arrived from Kielce on Tuesday (the 22nd of June) and took over the command of Czenstochow. Bishop [Teodoro] Kubina turned to all Catholics with an appeal and demanded that they remain calm.

However, the same “spiritual shepherd” simultaneously assured them that he understood the just irritation of the Polish masses and that he also believed that Baran's spilled blood demanded revenge. The anti–Semitic press actually published only the part of the bishop's letter in which he spoke of just revenge…

A delegation of the P.P.S. [Polish Socialist Party] visited the provincial governor on Tuesday and conferred with him about the situation in the city. The provincial governor promised that the calm would not be disturbed in any way. On the same day, the work in the factories stopped for a short time and a delegation was sent to the provincial governor from every factory. The latter again gave assurances that no excesses would be permitted. The mounted police constantly patrolled the streets.

Monday night, groups of workers chased away a band of hooligans who were just about to attack on Nadrzeczna, Garncarska and Senatorska Streets. However, the workers were driven away by the arriving police.

On Tuesday many telegrams arrived in Czenstochow from relatives from abroad asking about the health of their closest relatives. The telegrams arrived from America, Eretz–Yisroel and France and England. The American citizen, Nakhum Kot, just happened to be in Czenstochow then. He sent a telegram to the American Consul about the events. Therefore, the Czenstochow police questioned him for many hours.

On Tuesday evening, delegations of Jewish and Polish workers from a series of factories went to the provincial governor, Dr. Dziadocz, the starosta [senior official] and labor inspector. The factory workers, the comrades Kozlowski, Liberman, Baluszkewicz and Entelis, told the mentioned representatives of the regime that they were solemnly protesting against anti–Semitic hooligans who were still rampaging in various parts of the city. The delegation spoke in the name of the workers from the following factories: Metros 1 and Metros 2, Deres, Zylbersztajn and others.

Market day fell on the same day, but the police did not permit the peasants to enter the city for security reasons.

It was characteristic that the Polish anti–Semitic press defended the pogrom and spoke of the appearance of the hooligans with great joy. They tried to show with all of their power that they had destroyed Jewish goods, but that they had not stolen anything. The Socialist Robotnik [Worker] did report that they had stolen things.

Such a mood of terror reigned in the city that no lawyer wanted to take on the defense of Yosef Pendrak.

The bloody total of the pogrom was: around 75 wounded Jews; of them, several had serious wounds. The material damage to Jewish possessions reached around 200,000 gildn. About 150 Jewish shops were damaged; of them, around 30 were completely looted. The large Jewish shops on the main streets emerged with less damage because there the police guard

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was stronger. Understand that the poor Jewish shopkeeper suffered the most and especially the stall–keepers who did not dare open their small stalls in non–Jewish areas in the post–pogrom atmosphere. Approximately 40 Jewish families remained completely without food and had to ask for charity.

* * *

Partial Estimate of Material Damages for the Czenstochow Jews After the Pogrom in 1937

(According to the list sent to the Joint [Distribution Committee] on the 6th of July 1937)

Damages in Polish gildn.

Ninety–five shops partially destroyed: destroyed windows and furnishings – 15,300; goods destroyed – 42,800.

Twenty–eight shops completely destroyed: destroyed windows and furnishings – 9,000; goods destroyed – 22,000.

Two artisans' workshops destroyed: destroyed furnishings – 1,500; destroyed goods – 1,000.

Approximately 25–30 completely destroyed apartments – 10,000.

Destroyed farms and gardens – 500.

Jewish kehile [organized Jewish community] property destroyed; synagogues, houses of prayer, mikvah [ritual bathhouse], slaughter house – 10,000.

Destruction at new synagogue – 1,000.

In addition, 15,000 window panes broken – 30,000.

Total sum of the destruction: 142,350 gildn.

***

The Victims of the Pogrom in 1937

Murdered:

Natan Lipowski.

 

Wounded:

Avraham Plowner
Malekh Szapiro
Yosef Czenstochowski
Grilak
Dr. Ignaci Szrajber (gymanazie [secondary school] teacher)
Leib Birenbaum
Avraham Czarni
Yitzhak Czarni
Mrs. Abramowicz

 

Looted and Demolished Jewish Institutions, Residences, Shops, Synagogues, Houses of Prayer and Communal Institutions:

House of Prayer – Nadrzeczna Street
The Old Synagogue – Nadrzeczna Street
The New Synagogue (all of the windows knocked out) – Wilson Street
Jewish Gymnazie – Dambrowski Street
People's Bank – Aleje 7
Artisans' Union – Aleje 12
OZA [organization offering medical care] Center – at Kaminski near Czenstochow.

 

Residences:

Kopl Hoberman, shopkeeper
Hajlenberg, baker
Wajsnberg, carpenter
Dr. Leopold Kohn, industrialist (a bomb was thrown at his house)
Daniel Dzalowicz – Jasnogorska Street
Redlegski – Narutowicza Street
Kusznir – Narutowicza Street Galster – 3rd Aleje
Dr. Torbeczka – Katedralna Street
Avraham Czarni – Warszawer Street
Khone Maiorczik – Warszawer Street
Yosef Ber Nactigal – Nadrzeczna 2
Hercka Dilewski – Mirowska 10–12.

 

Businesses and Industrial Enterprises:

Klinber – wood warehouse, set on fire.
Kaminer – wood warehouse, set on fire.
Avraham Brajtler – mill.
Brekler – mill.
Frug – furniture factory.
Rolnicki – bookkeeper.
Wajnrib – grocery business.
Czanczinski – haberdashery business.
“Plumas” – chocolate business.
Langer – shoe business.
“Rai Dzieczinczi” (toy business).
Rozencwajg – candy shop.
Najman – photographic institution.
Strug – factory for wood finishing, Strazcka Street.
Prelman – hat business – Ogrodowa [Street].
Farberg Kaler – butcher.
Mali Berg (convert) – Kino “Luna.”
Biber – whiskey business – Natutowicza [Street].

[Page 182]

Spigelman – glass business – 1st Aleje.
Altman – food shop – Dambrowski [Street].
Bruszaki – frame factory – Sulkowski [Sreet].
“Sztuka” – photographic institution.
Epsztajn – fruit shop – Pilsudski 17.

 

Businesses
(type of business not provided):

Granek
Lenczicki
Ratmil
Erner
“Helena”
Josefowicz
Kroza
Librowicz
Fiszman
Galster
Estrajch.


Quickly, several court trials, which had a connection to the events, took place after the pogrom. Of the arrested pogromists, 60 of the 300 imprisoned hooligans remained under arrest – a number were sentenced and got away with small punishments of several months in prison, as opposed to the severe trial of Yosef Pendrak for whom the prosecutor demanded the death penalty.

His trial was prepared lightning fast – on the 13th day after the shooting. He was brought to the court with chains on his hands. The defendant, Yosef Pendrak, described the course of the tragic incident at the trial this way:

He met three young Christians at Wal Dwernicki's who were talking to the son of Zelwer, the owner of the iron warehouse. Simultaneously, Stefan Baran, who was driving a wagon, arrived. Baran came at him with a wagon shaft with the clear intention of giving him a blow. Zelwer was supposed to go into the city and was afraid. He, Pendrak, proposed that he would accompany [Zelwer] to the city.

The arriving Baran (a 25–year old giant) threw himself at Pendrak and said: “What do you want, mangy Jew? You are such a strong fighter!”

At the same time Baran threw off his jacket, grabbed a stone and threw it at Pendrak. The latter warned that he would shoot if the stone were thrown. Baran drew back a little, stood behind the three boys and began throwing stones. Pendrak withdrew and shouted to the boys that they should move to the wall. Pendrak then shot his revolver and hit Baran.

Ludwig Honigwil (a Bundist), the well–known Warsaw lawyer, and Jan Dambrowski (Polish Socialist) defended the accused at the first court judicial division. While the prosecutor wanted the death sentence, the investigating judge worked in court for a lighter sentence. When the lawyer Honigwil came to Czenstochow, the investigating judge reached out to him and advised him to carry out the defense on the grounds that the defendant had only crossed the boundary of necessary defense when in danger.

During the trial, the prosecutor demanded the death penalty. During the deliberation by the three judges, the chairman of the court supported the demand of the prosecutor. However, the other two judges decided to oppose it and thus the final sentence was life imprisonment.

On the 26th of October 1937 Pendrak's trial took place for the second time at the Warsaw Appeals Court. The defending lawyers appealed to accomplish two goals: decrease the sentence and change the grounds for the sentence. A third lawyer, the famous lawyer, Leon Berenson, was added to the previous two defense lawyers.

The course of the appeals trial was favorable for the defendant. The speaker, Judge Kramer, in his speech emphasized that the course of the trial at the first judicial court, at the county court in Czenstochow, did not provide any proof that the accused, Pendrak, had carried out the murder because of racial hatred, which was the grounds in the sentence by the county court. He also showed that Yosef Pendrak was known as an honest man, while Baran had been sentenced many times and punished for drunkenness and resisting the police.

The appeals court did not recognize the motive of racial hate and decreased the sentence to 13 years in jail. The decreased sentence was motivated by the fact that Pendrak

[Page 183]

had a connection to Baran as to a type from the underworld (in the first instance the motive of race–hatred was based on Pendrak's question to Zelwer at the beginning of the incident: “What does the gentile want from you?”).

Both the prosecutor and the defending lawyer were not happy with the sentence by the appeals court and requested an annulment [of the sentence] from the highest court. Both of their requests were denied and the sentence went into effect.

Yosef Pendrak was released by the Polish prison regime in Piotrków in September 1939, a few days after the outbreak of the Second World War. The liberated one then came to Warsaw.

Earlier Yosef Pendrak had become a member of the S.S.–Fareinekte [Socialist–Zionists– United]. During the split in this party in 1922, he and those who split joined the Bund. He also belonged to the Bundist Party Militia.


Translator's Footnote

  1. In 1935, Janina Prystor, a deputy in the Sejm – Polish Parliament – introduced a bill that would affect the ritual slaughter of animals by the Jews. Her followers were called Prystorowes. Składkowski, speaking in the Sejm – Polish parliament – used the word owszem referring to an economic struggle against the Jews. This led to an economic boycott of Jewish businesses. Return
  2. The names Yosl and Yosef are used interchangeably in the narrative about Pendrak. Return

 

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