In 1922, the Poalei Zion [Workers of Zion] party was divided (It was, at that time, a large workers' party and also occupied an important place in the Jewish street) into two currents right and left due to ideological differences.
While the rightwing faction remained loyal to the Zionist ideal in the spirit of socialism as seen by Borochov, the second faction leaned towards extreme leftism and an orientation towards the Soviet Union. In accordance with the spirit which prevailed in the period following the Russian revolution, the desire of the masses was expressed for freedom through rebellion against the Tsarist control. It was natural that the majority of the members joined the leftist faction and only a small handful, made up of Wolf Landsman, Simche Rajch, God Frajtag, Jakob Kaufman, Dawid Filipowicz, Mojsze Gotlib, Jakob and Chana Gotlib and Romek Wajn began organising independent party Poalei Zion(Right).
At the first stage, they rented their own hall and commenced an information program. They organised assemblies, meetings, participated in Zionist fundraisers for the national funds and the workers in the Land of Israel Fund. At the same time, they also began to infiltrate the professional unions, which had great influence in the Jewish street.
In a short time, their activity began to bear fruit. New forces of members were added. The youth movement Poalei Zion Right was also established. They actively participated in all the Jewish workers' struggles while, first and foremost, they continued to support the original Zionist cause.
The activity of the Poalei Zion members was spread over diverse areas. They took an active part in the elections to the Polish Sejm, the Jewish community's institutions and, in municipal elections, they achieved such success that a representative from among them was elected Leiser Plocker. On [International] Workers' Day, May 1st, their members took an active part. They carried placards and slogans, putting an emphasis on the Jewish worker's rights, the return to Zion and the emigration of Jews to the Land of Israel.
Together with its other activities, this party also participated in assemblies that dealt with Zionism in all its ideologies and currents, such as, during Leib Jaffe's visit to the city and so forth. It also organised lectures by its members, who came from outside (from Israel and from the Centre in Warsaw). Among those who visited our city were Dr Juris, Dr Izaak Sziffer, Berl Locker, Y. BenZvi, Z. Rubashov (Shazar), Eng. A. Reis, A. Białopolski, J. Szpizman and others.
They had another important activity organising the porters. With the opening of the Hebrew port in TelAviv, a group of porters was organised from among the members of Poalei Zion (Right) and some made Aliyah.
The degree of sympathy for the party was particularly felt when the party, in Warsaw, began printing its daily newspaper, Das Wort [The Word], many copies of which were circulated amongst the city's workers.
In the 1930's, together with the growth of the Mapai [Workers' Party of the Land of Israel] party in the Land of Israel, the Poalei Zion (Right) party also grew in the Diaspora and became one of the larger parties, with which the youth groups were affiliated. The most active for its cause were the working youth of Freiheit [Freedom], which later organised and part of it went out for training. Many of them emigrated to the Land [of Israel]. At the head of the youth movement stood Nuta Slomnicki and J. Wajn.
Sitting (as above): Ciaciura, A. Wirsztel, Ch. Mendelewicz, R. Binensztok and Z. Zilberberg.
Sitting (bottom): Sz. Dorfsman and B. Ajzner
The main arm in realising the pioneering ideal, in practical terms, was Ha'Chalutz, which was also affiliated to Poalei Zion (Right) within The League for the Working Land of Israel.
Under the party's auspice, HaPoel [The Worker] was also organised a circle that dealt in almost all branches of sport and was made up mostly of working and student youth.
In the cultural arena, Poalei Zion members conducted a wide program. They established a large and rich library with books in different languages. They organised lectures and seminars and also opened a people's university under the directorship of Professors B. Szefer and J. Sak, teachers at the Hebrew high school.
In 1938 a distinct shift occurred, when the Poalei Zion (Right) party joined forces with the independents (Vereinigte) [Ger. United], at whose head stood Dr Józef Kruk. They forged an alliance for a common cause to act for the realisation of Zionism. At the elections held that year in Częstochowa for the Zionist Congress, Poalei Zion received the majority of the votes (of 2,390 voters, 1,120 chose Poalei Zion Right).
After the leaders of the party God Frajtag, Jakob Fefer, Jakob and Chana Gotlib, Faywel Zuzowski, Wolf Landsman, Simche Rajch, Joel Goldfarb, Natan Besserglik (Ron), Herc Hofman and Kopinski personally fulfilled the Zionist idea and emigrated together with their families to the Land [of Israel], the party's activities until the start of the Second World War were managed by Szyia Straus (as coordinator), Dawid Kaufman, Leib Jurysta, Izrail Szyldhaus, Gerszon Laks, Dawid Wattenberg, L. Tenenbaum, Worsztel, Slomnicki and Ludowski. Among them, were also members Kopinski, Szlymkowicz, Rumek, Jakowizna, Jaskel and Jachnis [perhaps Jechnicz].
Warszoer, Zuzowski, M. Zajdman, two Chwats, Landsberg, two Landmans, Majorczyk, Srebrnik, Essig, Epsztajn, Fajfer, Sz. Frank, Cymerman, Czerny, Częstochowski,
Czerny, Kaufman, Koziwoda, Kochman, Chana Rajch, Lea Rajch, Simche Rajch, Richter and Szwarcowski
Among the Zionist parties with a marked Labour character, which operated in the Jewish street, the Zionist Labour Party Hitachdut stood out in particular.
This party's lines were concentrated primarily on the strata of the working intelligentsia and also the middleclass, whose views were ZionistSocialist.
This party made an effort, in its extensive activity amid the Jewish public, to impart the best of Zionist information for the Land of Israel and its efforts bore fruit.
In its first years, its activists included Izrail Danziger and Natan Gerszonowicz (who also stood at its head), Mordka Kaufman, Natan Szczekacz, Mrs Rozener, Chune Erlich, Sabina Szperling, Sonia (Hofman) Birnholc, Dorka and Nisan Rajch, Jossele Goldsztajn, Pola Appelbaum, Mojsze Ruzewicz, Kohn, Aron Warszawski, Gerszon Fogel, Esterka (Liberman) Adler, Helka Ciaciura, Fridman and others whose names I do not now remember.
During its years of existence, this party also suffered ups and downs in the Jewish street and, sometimes, in a radically, notable manner.
In the 1920's, there was an internal struggle between two factions, one of which aspired to unify with Poalei Zion Right. However, the other faction, which backed the independence of Hitachdut, prevailed in this ideological battle. This caused the Hitachdut movement to become established and to expand in the city. Its influence on Zionist public life also strengthened.
During that period, its activists were M. R. Straus (who dedicated himself, heart and soul, to his work), Fajnrajch, Abram Izbicki, Juda Fridman and others, whose names I've also now forgotten.
When elections were held for the 18th Zionist Congress, this party was surprisingly successful, winning onethird of the votes for its list to this congress. The people at the Hitachdut Centre treated the Częstochowa branch with great affection. They often came to our city, organised assemblies there and always spoke before a large audience. Among the orators was Dr Józef Lewi from Łódź and Dr Lerchenfeld from Warsaw.
Also, this party's periodical Folk un Land [Yid. Folk and Land], with many copies being distributed in our city.
In those same years, its Vitkunia youth group was established, named after the thinker of the Zionist Workers' movement, Joseph Vitkin.
Within the Revisionist movement (besides the youth organisation Brit [Yosef] Trumpeldor Betar, about which shall be written separately), there were the following organisational units:
Brit [Heb. alliance] Ha'Tzohar [acronym of The Revisionist Zionists]
At the head of Ha'Tzohar stood the prominent local public figure Szmul Nemirowski, who was involved in public life and was the representative of the Ha'Tzohar alliance in the management of different organisations. He also founded communal and financial institutions. Following the separation that took place in the Revisionist movement in 1933, Nemirowski remained loyal to Jabotinsky's ideology and, with his great organisational power, reassembled its lines. He was aided in this work by the Professor Janowski, Professor Wajnberg, Herman Hercberg, Benjamin Hercberg, Eng. Szpic, Lipman Kopinski, Eng. Epsztajn, A. Erlich and other people, whose names I do not remember.
With Ze'ev Jabotinsky's visit in Częstochowa, in May 1935, a meeting was held with many participants and a special newspaper was also printed in honour of the occasion. When the world leadership decided to establish the new Zionist Union, at the conference it held in Vienna in September of that same year, elections for this congress were also held in our city and many gave their consent to its establishment.
Menorah Labour Alliance
A labour movement called Menorah Labour Alliance was founded as well, and at its head stood Ezriel Jakubowicz, Abram Lenczner, Dawid Liberman, Mojsze Krauze, Jakob Kartuz [and] Zvi Szyldhaus. This movement's main activity was an extensive information and cultural one.
BritHaChayal [The Soldier Alliance]
As in other cities in Poland, a group for demobilised soldiers, named Brit Ha'Chayal, was organised in our city also. Its members roused many to the Zionist cause and particularly from among assimilationist circles. The heads of the organisation were Krakowiak, formerly an officer in the Polish army and a sports teacherinstructor, N. Kurland, Sz. Jarzombek, M. Erlich, Gotajner and other active members, whose names I do not remember.
Achdut Israel [Unity of Israel]
Part of the religious public within the lines of the revisionists, established a special organisation of their own named Achdut Israel. Its members founded a synagogue, in which they preached to the religious public about the ideology of Ze'ev Jabotinsky. Its youth movement was called Brit Jeshurun [Jeshurun is a poetic name for Israel]. At the head of this religious movement stood Chaim Leib Jungster, Holand, A. Ofman and a few other members.
A sporting organisation was also established, which was involved in all areas of sport and particularly distinguished itself in boxing.
The Revisionist Women's Movement
Women also took an active part in the struggle to fulfil Jabotinsky's idea of establishing the State of Israel. They organised meetings and raised money for the TelChai Fund.
Once the Revisionist Zionist movement had started to infiltrate the wider circles of the Jewish public in Częstochowa and had reached the height of its development, especially in 1933, a split occurred at the top of the world party, mainly due to a difference of opinion between its central figures Ze'ev Jabotinsky and Meir Grossman.
Obviously, the split also influenced the movement's branch in our city. The majority of the older members left the revisionist movement and joined Grossman's faction, which took the name The State Party Judenstaats Partei, who were known on the Jewish street as Grossmanites.
The Grossmanites in Częstochowa began extensive activities. The movement was headed by Eliasz Ickowicz, a seasoned Zionist public figure [and] a great orator, Michał Ruzewicz, a renowned public figure, among the founders of the sports movement in the city, who was involved in its social life, Eng. Fajgin, an experienced Zionist public figure, Eng. Orlinski, Efroim Bratman, one of the founders of Betar, Liberman, Izrail Janiek, Binem Hofman, Gliksman, Altman, Baran, Abram Sztajnhart, Izrail Tiberg (who died in a working accident in Israel) and other members whose names I do not remember.
The Grossmanites party's activity was felt on the Jewish street and, during a certain period, even reached important achievements, with the election of its delegate, Eng. Orlinski, to the City Council. The Grossmanites also established a special youth movement called Barak [Lightning], at the head of which were members Hofman and Zilberszac. Over the course of the years, they established a training centre in the city's suburb of Błeszno, to which youth swarmed from throughout Poland. The pioneers of the training centre made their livelihood from their work and from agriculture in particular.
The Grossmanites were able to receive a number of certificates and a few of their members emigrated to the Land [of Israel].
Sitting (as above): M. Ruzewicz, Eng. Fajgin, A. Ickowicz, Eng. A. Orlinski and Altman
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