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[Pages 221-224]

The Poalei–Zion (Right) Party in Częstochowa

Ezriel Ben–Moshe

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 right–wing 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).


The “Poalei Zion” (Right) party council
(Right): Altman, Szczekacz, Frajtag, Laskowski, Herszlikowicz, Besserglik, Jurysta, First, Zajdman


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. Ben–Zvi, 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 Tel–Aviv, 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.


The Zionist–Socialist Youth Council “Poalei ZionFreiheit
Standing (from right to left): Chaim Fajga, Izrail Szyldhaus, Herzl [?] and his wife, Nuta Slomnicki, Dawid Lastman, L. Unglik and I. Zarski
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].


Members of the “Poalei Zion” – Right party (after the partition)
In this collective picture may be seen the (alphabetically [Heb.]): Orbach, two Altmans, Amber, Braun, Gotajner, Grünbaum, Aba Winer, Wajsberg, Win, two Wargons,
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


[Pages 225-228]

The Zionist Labour Party “Hitachdut” in Częstochowa

Ezriel Ben–Moshe

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 middle–class, whose views were Zionist–Socialist.

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 one–third 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.

[Pages 227-230]

The Revisionist Zionist Movement in Częstochowa

Ezriel Ben–Moshe

Within the Revisionist movement (besides the youth organisation Brit [Yosef] TrumpeldorBetar”, 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.


Collective photograph of the Revisionist movement
At its centre, the leaders: Szmul Nemirowski, Perec Lasker and Józef Gliksman


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.


Brit–HaChayal [“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 teacher–instructor, 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 “Tel–Chai Fund”.

[Pages 231-232]

The State Party Movement

Ezriel Ben–Moshe

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].


The management of the Zionist State Party (Grossmanites) in 1933
Standing (from right to left): I. Tiberg, Zilberszac, Liberman, I. Janiek, B. Hofman, Adv. Bratman, Gliksman and Joel Baran
Sitting (as above): M. Ruzewicz, Eng. Fajgin, A. Ickowicz, Eng. A. Orlinski and Altman


The young Grossmanite scouts “Barak” in 1934 in their uniforms.
In the first rows are: Tiberg, Ester Szlezinger (Orbach), Zilberszac, Ickowicz, Hofman, Orlinski, [?[1]], Potaszewicz, Gliksman and Zilberszac (the other)


Translator's note:

  1. The surname that appears here is spelled גלברואר (GLBRVAR) in Hebrew. Return


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