The Book Committee
Częstochowa also had a Jewish Society for Knowledge of the Country, which in Polish was called Żydowskie Towarzystwo Krajoznawcze [Jewish Sightseeing Society], although a Polish Society of this kind [already] existed in Poland, which was supported by the central government and the municipal authorities.
Even if Jews were admitted as members there, at the same time, they were given a gentle hint, more often than not, even a brutal one, that they were unwanted. Due to this, in many cities, Częstochowa amongst them, such Jewish societies were founded, which organised outings to different interesting places, mainly to the country's historical sites, at which those knowledgeable in Polish history spoke about the past of the localities.
This Jewish Society attracted a great section of the youth and other, regular people also.
Below, we present a summary of a report on one of the annual general meetings, which took place at the Mrs Z. Wajnsztok school, at Aleja 20 and in which Mr Dubrowicz, a delegate of the Warsaw Central Committee, also participated.
Director Lilien and Dr Lajzerowicz sat on the executive committee and F. Blumenkranc was the meeting secretary.
The Society was, at that time, going through an internal crisis and was threatened with total liquidation.
Prof L. Wajnsztok lectured on the reasons that had brought about such a situation, and Professor Brandlewicz even proposed that the Society be liquidated.
The delegate from the Central [Committee], Mr Dubrowicz, showed, in a long address, what a moral defeat it would be for the Polish Jews if the institutions which they had created with so much effort should begin to be liquidated and what joy that would bring the antisemites. He appealed to the sense of responsibility of the members present and urged them to elect a new administration of active members, which would be able to renew and revive the Society's activities.
Following the debate, in which F. Blumenkranc, Prof Brandlewicz, Mrs Horowicz, Mrs Wasserman, Dr Lajzerowicz and Sz. Frank paricipated, a new administration was elected, which pledged to energetically resume the work and return the Society to its former standing.
The new administration consisted of F. Blumenkranc, J. Goldman, Prof L. Wajnsztok, Dr Lajzerowicz, Dr Lilien, Miss Salat, Epsztajn, J. Rzonszyński and Sztybel.
The auditing commission comprised Prof Brandlewicz, Grinbaum and Wasserman.
In the Court of Honour were Adv. Leon Asz, A. Perec and J. Rozener and, as representatives, Mrs Wasserman and Sz. Frank.
(This important institution continued to exist until the great destruction of Jewish Częstochowa!)
In the second half of the 1920's (following the First World War), when the economic situation of the Jews in Poland gradually began to normalise, a certain revival also began to be noticed in the theatrical profession. In almost all the larger cities, permanent theatres were established, apart from the touring troupes.
In Częstochowa, a good theatrecity where, until then, the best Jewish troupes had appeared, but only for limited performances, a theatre company, directed by actorentrepreneur Izrael Białkowicz, performed successfully almost all year round, although there were difficulties in finding a suitable hall with a stage.
Izrael Białkowicz belonged to the provincial actors who had come to terms with the idea that their chances of being engaged in a central city were very small. Exactly like others in his category, he therefore lovingly took upon himself the heavy yoke of organising and directing provincial troupes at the theatre for all his years.
The troupe consisted of the union members Riwke Lubartowska, Chane Rozencwajg, Lea Librowska and her young daughter Rayzel (the current wife of Max Boźyk), Liola Goldsztajn, Leib Winer, Max Pokój, J. Dziubak, Abram Blatt and Adolf Liberman. The repertoire was a mix of drama, melodrama and operettas. On one and the same poster were advertised Sholem Asch's Motke the Thief and Joseph Lateiner's Chinke Pinke Ansky's Dybbuk and Boris Thomashevsky's Shliomke and Rikel.
The troupe showed a special affinity to their performances in Częstochowa. The theatre director, Sam Blumsztajn from Warsaw, was engaged and the orchestra was enlarged. Special decorations were also painted for each piece and, when a piece was liked, it continued running many times. A great hit was the operetta Dos Chazandl [The Young Cantor], with the very young, talented Rayzel Librowska in the title role.
Over the course of a season, others were also invited to perform the primadonna Malwina Joles from Lemberg [Lwów], Aniela Borisova, Rabinowicz and Poliakow of the Kompaniejec Troupe (Just as these lines are being written, the tearful news has reached us that Aron Poliakow, the highly accredited and beloved actor, has died in Paris, at the age of 70.), the Heldentenor Benny Abelman with his Goldfaden repertoire and the amateur singer Michał Trylling.
The troupe was very well liked. At the time, the Częstochower Zeitung wrote:
The troupe puts forth the best that a provincial city can have. We, in Częstochowa, may well be proud of their achievements.
At the same time, the newspaper very strongly criticises the repertoire and is also displeased with certain actors.
Here, too, the administrative authorities, thanks to the efforts of the local Polish theatre, began making difficulties for the Jewish troupe. Performances were required to be censored by the Home Office in Warsaw and had to end no later than eleven o'clock. Also, the Polish text on the posters needed to be in larger letters than the Yiddish text. The objective was to push the Jewish actors out of Catholic Częstochowa.
In order to tear up the decree and to help the troupe stand on secure financial foundations, the administrator of the Jewish Actors' Union, Mark Juwiler, came to Częstochowa. Following a series of conferences with various communal and professional institutions, a theatrecommittee was set up here also, with the participation of J. Rozenberg, Aron Perec, R. Federman, J. Sak, Z. Sztyller and others. The committee took it upon itself to be in constant contact with the troupe and to support it morally and materially. R. Federman, a member of the local City Council, also became the representative of the Jewish Actors' Union in Poland for the theatrical troupes' professional affairs.
The administrator of the Jewish Actors' Union, Mark Juwiler, also held a conference with the mayor. As result of the intervention, the troupe was immediately freed from paying municipal taxes and, soon, the Jewish theatre even received a subsidy from the City Council. The subsidy, for which the theatre committee had also helped to fight, was quite pitiful amount (twelve hundred złotych), but in that antiJewish atmosphere, it was considered a moral victory and an acknowledgement of the Jewish theatre.
The Częstochowa troupe would also, from time to time, perform successfully in the neighbouring cities.
But, in these cities, they often encountered wandering, nonunionised troupes, who allowed themselves to do such deeds that damaged the Jewish theatre's image, both morally and materially. It often reached even using denouncements.
When the Częstochowa troupe came to Sosnowiec with the operetta The Polish Wedding, a nonunionised troupe appeared there at the same time and began performing at a second hall. Wanting to compete against these Częstochowers, the nonunionised troupe's actorentrepreneur, after their every performance, agitated from the stage against the Częstochowa uniontroupe, urging Jews not go due to political reasons because, and here he swore on his gluedon beard and sidelocks, ‘;the Actors' Union is a Communist gniazdo [nest]’ (the source in the theatrical archives, YIVO, New York).
The antiunion entrepreneur also handed out fliers throughout the streets, which said, verbatim:
Jews, don't go see the Częstochowers!!! They cheat!!! Their Polish Wedding is not the correct wedding. In the correct Polish Wedding, it must be seen how the bright angels sing in heaven and how the black gypsies sing and dance in their tabor [camp; caravan], and other effects.
The Częstochowers cannot show such a performance, because it's not a troupe, but an old folks home!
Don't let yourselves be deceived and come to us at the theatre, where we'll show you everything!!!
(The source in the theatrical archives, YIVO, New York).
The successful, first stable season in Częstochowa meant that, in the following year, a troupe should be stationed there in rented [premises], under directorship of the renowned actorentrepreneur Szlojme Herszkowicz, in partnership with the local theatrepersonality, Szlojme Kajzer.
At the head of the troupe stood the extremely talented, temperamental operetta actress Regina Cukier, who was intensely loved and popular with the broad masses, not only in Poland. She performed in the various cheap operettas, in melodramas, not acknowledging the most elementary stagedisciplines and was therefore crowned with the name The Queen of Trash. In serious theatre, but with a proper stagemanager, such a Regina Cukier would have doubtlessly held a respectable position.
Her partner in Częstochowa was the wellknown actor and singer Michał Klein, who had started his stage career at the Warsaw Muranów Theatre.
The ensemble also comprised Malwina Weiland, Fania Laszer, Ruta Kalisz, Adela Gotfryd, Julia Hochberg, Hersz Hart (the distinguished actor and theatreactivist suddenly, recently, died in TelAviv, sixtyodd years old), Karl Cymbalist, Leon Gelticherman, Izaak Gotfryd and Szlojme Herszkowicz.
The pieces were directed by Regina Cukier's husband, Karl Cymbalist. The orchestra was conducted by Sam Blumsztajn and dances were arranged by ballet master Adolfini. Just as the Białkowicz Troupe had done the previous year, they too performed in neighbouring cities and made good deals.
Częstochowa, as a stable city, was then a real boon for Jewish theatre. It was one of the first, not large, cities where a production could maintain a troupe for practically the whole season.
(Częstochowa remained A City and a Mother to the Jewish actor, until the great destruction, which put an end to the Jews and to all they had created and possessed!)
Below, we present a summary of a review which the talented Fiszel Blumenkranc, former secretary of the Jewish Kehilla, wrote about a performance of the Drama Circle:
Częstochowa youth did not wish to remain subordinated to our large cities in Poland and, therefore, proved its might in all areas including discovering their own actors, with actual talent and also the audacity to show themselves in front of the broad Jewish public, in their theatrical performances.
We are able to say something about how this Drama Circle performed Liwszyc's comedy in four acts, entitled Hershele Ostropoler [Little Hersch of Ostropol] the famous jester, whose chochmes [witticisms] and feats are told to this day and have literally left pearls in Jewish folklore.
The young Częstochowa lads and girls took quite a heavy bit of work upon themselves and there was nothing to envy the stagemanager Sz. Frank, who had to rehearse the roles of these amateur actors, as well as taking on the lead role of Reb Hershele Ostropoler and suddenly become, no longer a serious man, but transform himself into a Chassidic jester and amuse his Rebbe long live! who delights in his Chassidic chochmes.
Urbach, who played the Rebbe's role, aided the success greatly, turning himself into a naturalborn Rebbe.
Weaker were Lapides (as Chanina) and Rozencwajg (as Simche). Both of them portrayed strict Chassidim.
On the other hand, the second Rozencwajg, in the role of Reb Oyzer, was wonderful, and delighted the audience with his artistic acting.
Okrent as Reb Chanina's soninlaw, Winter as a Misnaged [enemy of Chassidism], and Zilberszac as Reb Hershele's mechuten, had smaller parts in the play.
Women also participated in the performance Mrs Rozener as the Rebbetzin [Rebbe's wife] and Mses. Sztajnhauer and Zilberszac, disguised as Chassidim.
The decorations were very modest, which also showed that the union's grosz was precious to our youth!
(If we present in our Memorial Book a detailed account of this specific performance, it is because we wish to immortalise the name of the dear youth, who exerted themselves to make the Częstochowa Jews happy and who, so sadly and tragically, ended their young lives).
The beginnings of the Jewish press in Częstochowa took place shortly prior to the First World War.
Until then, the Częstochowa public had found its spiritual food in the literature which the booksellers, Bajgele and Lapides, had provided.
The agents of the Warsaw Jewish newspapers were Lewensztajn, Gutfrajnd and Frankfurter.
The first newspaper published in Częstochowa was the Częstochower ReklamenBlatt [Cz. Advertisements Page], which published its first edition 6th December 1912, printed at Berl Bocian's printing house.
The paper was founded by A. Chrobołowski, Herszele Fajwlowicz, Mojsze Cieszynski and Jakób Rozenberg. Faitel Szmulewicz and Leon Kopinski were also involved.
The AdvertisementsPage was not longlived only nine edition were published.
In 1913 a new paper appeared, the Częstochower WochenBlatt [Cz. Weekly Page] which, from time to time, enlarged its format until it had the appearance of a newspaper. In this paper, too, the chief collaborators were H. Fajwlowicz and M. Cieszynski. It was edited by I.M. Brojn from Warsaw.
This paper's last edition was published on 26th December 1913.
At the time, a competing newspaper was also published, a weekly, called Unser Zeitung [Our Newspaper]. It was printed at Cymerman's printing house and was edited by Kronenberg from Łowicz.
In the years 19131919, a daily paper, the Częstochower Tageblatt [Cz. Daily Paper], was also published with numerous interruptions. This paper was published jointly by Bocian and Rozenberg. It was edited by the renowned journalist Zvi Kohen from Łódź (known under his pseudonym Zvi). Imich, Mendel Asz, A. Warszawski, Fajwlowicz, Paul Federman, Leon Kopinski, Ratner, and Szaja Herman collaborated in this paper. Periodically, it also contained articles by Rabbi Nachum Asz and Rabbi Szajewicz.
A few workers' periodicals were also published in Częstochowa. One paper was called Das Neue Wort [The New Word] and was edited by R. Federman and A. Chrobołowski. The second was Unser Stimme [Our Voice]. Dr Józef Kruk and Szmul Frank collaborated in these papers.
The abovementioned details regarding the Jewish press in Częstochowa is quoted from the book Tshenstokhover Yidn, which was published in 1947 in New York.
The development of the Jewish press dates back to the First World War, and especially the last years prior to the Second World War.
Three weeklies were regularly published, as well as one half of a daily newspaper.
1) The Częstochower Zeitung as a weekly periodical.
This paper was an independent weekly, plublished by Berl Bocian and printed at his press. During its first years, Izrail Plocker, a Mizrachi activist, was the editorinchief. Over the course of time, the editing function passed to Szmul Frank.
The paper's permanent collaborators were:
The Chief Rabbi's three sons Leon, Mendel and Mojsze Asz, Szoszana Częstochowska, Mojsze Leib Lewensztajn, the three brothers, Abram, Leibel and Akiwa Fogel, Fajgenbaum, Fajwlowicz, Lipman and Leon Kopinski, Mordka Kaufman, P. Szmulewicz and the writer of these lines.
The Częstochower Zeitung presented a true image of the Jewish communal and political life.
Szmul Frank filled almost half of the paper by himself. His weekly overview, entitled What [I] Heard and What [I] Saw, was a current reflection of Częstochowa Jewish life. Most importantly, this periodical had a great influence on Jewish society, who took its opinion into consideration on various social issues.
2) Unser Weg [Our Way] was the Częstochowa Zionist Organisation's official organ.
This paper, too, was published as a weekly and was printed at Helfgot's printing house. Its official editor was Mojsze Tauzewicz, a printing worker who distinguished himself with his energy and capability at work.
The managers and editors were Dr Mering and Aron Luksemburg.
Many local Zionist communal activists collaborated in the paper, among them being Fiszel Blumenkranc, secretary of the Jewish Kehilla, and Zeligfeld, who was famous for his witticisms, jokes and feuilletons. Other regular contributors were (alphabetically [in Heb.]) Ch. Birnholc, Dr A. Bram, Abram Gotlib, Danziger, Dr Ch.Z. Hirszberg, Turner, Prof Janowski, B. Łaźniarz, Chaim Lustiger, L. Lewkowicz, M. Finkelsztajn, J.Sz. Koblenz, Dawid Koniecpoler, J. Klajner, J. Krak, Rozenwajn, Dr Gerszon Szefer, A. Szajnweksler and M.Ch. Sziffer.
Over the course of time, Unser Weg became the organ of the Jewish intelligentsia and, thanks to its contributors Blumenkranc and Zeligfeld, the periodical also took on a literary character.
3) Die Zeit [The Time] was a private enterprise, distributed and printed by its editor Wajsberg. Wajsberg was actually a merchant and, over the course of the week, he and his son also occupied themselves also in their shop writing articles. The son was also the typesetter and printer of the paper, which had a small circle of readers in Częstochowa. But it was more widely circulated in the surrounding area, such as in Wieluń, Radomsko, Kłobuck, Gorzkowice and other neighbouring shtetls. Wajsberg did not make any great livelihood from the paper but, for honour's sake, all year round, he exerted himself and published his paper.
4) Unser Częstochower Express was really printed in Warsaw, as a daily paper.
However, by an agreement with Bocian, the last page was printed in Częstochowa and the word Częstochowa was added to the headline of Unser Express. The paper's last page contained specific local news, as well as articles by Szmul Frank. The periodical, which had a large number of readers in Poland due to this combination, was also widely circulated in Częstochowa too. It was impartial and had a folksy character.
|Translator's note: The names of the periodicals, right column (from the top): ReklamenBlatt, WochenBlatt, Tageblatt, Arbeiter Zeitung (Workers Paper), Das Neue Wort, Der Proletarier (The Proletarian), Unser Stimme
Left column (from the top): Express Częstochowski, Die Zeit (The Time), Częstochower Wecker (Cz. Alarm), Unser Express, Częstochower Zeitung, Unser Weg.
Polish Jewish Press
Occasionally, Jewish newspapers were published in the Polish language, such as Glos Powszechny [The Universal Voice] and Express Częstochowski. They were edited by Semiatycki, with Szpic, Krak and others contributing.
Pure Polish Newspapers
Two Polish daily periodicals were published in Częstochowa, which particularly distinguished themselves with their wild antisemitic agitation. They called [their readers] to boycott the Jews and even incited pogroms against them.
The editor of the Endecja paper Gazeta Częstochowska was the renowned Jewhater Paczkowski, and that of the Goniec Częstochowski [Cz. Messenger] was Wilkuszewski, no small antisemite.
The Sefer Częstochowa Book Committee has turned to me, as one of the few Częstochowa sports activists remaining alive, with the request to document the history of sports and sportsmen in Częstochowa.
This was a difficult task for me for two reasons:
Firstly, it is difficult to grad oneself back to that teary horror and revive in one's memory all those, mostly young and healthy, people who always showed their heroism, Jewish pride and strong will to live and to acquire as much glory for the Jewish People as possible (and who were so cruelly annihilated by the Nazi murderers).
Secondly, in order to write about all their activities over the course of almost an entire generation, I would need to write a separate, large book just for that a Memorial Book of Jewish sport in Częstochowa.
However, as I cannot concede to Jewish sport and its activists not being immortalised, albeit briefly, in our Memorial Book, I have taken this difficult task upon myself and, with deep sorrow and pain, I write this history of those who were, and have remained, sacred and dear to each one of us!
Częstochowa was no different from other cities in Poland at the time when Jewish youth began to become interested in sport and it, too, soon created various sports clubs.
In this, the Jewish GymnasticsSporting Association earned the seat of honour. It arranged a good administration, firstclass expert instructors and also a suitable venue, where normal activity could be conducted.
No less active was the Warta sports club, around which congregated the city's most respected manufacturers, engineers and lawyers, who took their sports activity very seriously and dedicated much of their time and money to it.
They set up their own sports complex on ulica Koszarowa, in a Jewish area, thus also attracting a large section of the youth.
The two sporting associations, Ascola and the Błyskawica [Lightning] workers club, had experienced sports activists. However, the Częstochowa sporting youth were not satisfied with this and a whole series of small clubs were created, such as Jutrzenka [Pol.; Dawn, Aurora], HaKoach [Heb.; The Force], Gwiazda [Pol.; The Star], Szturm [Pol., Yid; Storm], Lauda, Sport, Gideon, Aviv [Heb.; Spring] and Nordia.
Obviously, such a splintering of the sportsmen brought no benefit to the important matter and, due to lack of money and sports activists, these small clubs were soon liquidated and their members were absorbed by the ŻTGS Warta.
Several political parties attempted to establish their own sports clubs, such as Jutrznia (Bund), Nordia (Beitar), Gwiazda (PoaleiZion, Left) and HaPoel [Heb.; The Worker] (PoaleiZion, Right). However, all these clubs were not longlived and were soon liquidated, yet their names must be mentioned!
Jewish and Polish sportsmen in Częstochowa enjoyed a very good relationship, to the extent that Jewish sports activists were even represented at general sporting trials and had a great influence there.
In the first instance, Mr Pinkus must be mentioned. He was the only Jew in the first Polish cycling association in Częstochowa (CTC) and he remained there even after the Jewish cycling association had been established.
We must also mention M. Hasenfeld of Warta, who was President of the Kielce Football Association, Częstochowa division, Dr L. Goldman, VicePresident; Efroim Szmaragd, T. Kempner, [and] Benjamin Ferens, who were elected several times as members of the Association, as well as the writer of these lines, who was Secretary of the Football Association for several years, as well as that of the bureau for game and discipline; Daniel Markowicz Chairman of the Football Referees Association (to the outbreak of the Second World War) and Szaje Gliksman, a member of the Disciplinary Bureau.
The Referees Panel included Orensztajn, Menachem Birnholc, Broniatowski, Józef Gitler, Grin, Binem Hofman, A. Horowicz, Henech Helman, Zemmel, Kempner, W. Rozencwajg, Sztarkman, Leibel Szajkowicz, Natan and K. Szerer.
Bryll, Goldsztajn, Wajnberg, Wajs, Epsztajn and Rajch were also active in various fields of Polish sports life, connected with the Polish sports associations.
At the end, I also wish to mention that Częstochowa was the first city in Poland to take the initiative to organise the Polish Table Tennis Association, and the first nationwide masters' competition took place at the Fire Department's hall in Częstochowa.
Its initiators were: A. Horowicz and Józef Gitler (from Warta) and Chaim Birnholc (from Ascola).
The Jewish GymnasticsSporting Association ŻTGS
The revival of Jewish culturalsocial life in Częstochowa also awakened, in the youth, a desire to develop a broad activity in physical culture.
According to the sources which I have been able to discover, I am able to affirm, with certainty, that the idea to create a sports movement amongst Jewish youth already originated back in the Tsarist period, prior to the outbreak of the First World War. However, as is known, the Tzarist government, which also ruled over Congress Poland, viewed any communal work with suspicion and saw in it signs of kramola [dissidence]. Tt therefore hindered, among others, those who organised sports.
It was only in 1915, when Poland was freed from the Russian yoke (although the German invaders ruled then in Poland), that the opportunity was finally created to do something for the physical development of our youth.
A group of young men, who gathered at the Lira Society and who were under the influence of the great philanthropist and friend of the Jewish masses, Mr Henryk Markusfeld, and were also supported generously by him, and who additionally had the use, on the other hand, of the Craftsmen's Club at ulica Ogrodowa 22, lay the foundation for the Jewish sports movement in Częstochowa.
These founders were Goldszajder, Gostynski, Szajewicz, Chrobołowski and Krauskopf. They founded the Jewish GymnasticsSporting Association in Częstochowa.
Henryk Markusfeld was chosen as Honorary President and the German gymnastics teacher Mr Holthausen also taught the first Jewish athletes.
Józef Aronowicz and Brum were delegates to the Central Association of the Jewish Sporting Societies in Poland, which was then in Łódź, and received its approval to open a division in Częstochowa.
The Jewish sportsmen's first public appearance was on Lag BaOmer [Jewish festivity in the summer].
The celebration was organised by the Zionist Organisation, with the participation of all the local Zionist groups, the high school, horticultural farms and scouting organisations.
A youth march was organised through the city's main streets and they marched with their blueandwhite flags to Błeszno, where the Jewish GymnasticsSporting Association conducted various sporting competitions and impressive entertainments.
This was the beginning of later intensive work, the most apparent results of which were shown at the Zagłębie Regional Turnfest [Ger.; Gymnastics Festival] tournament, in 1917, when the Częstochowa gymnasts Brum, Krakowiak and Fajge Sztajnic took first places in the competition.
The PolishBolshevik war in 1920 paralysed sports activity. The majority of members were mobilised and the venue at ulica Ogrodowa 22 was taken over by the military. However, immediately following the war, work was again renewed.
The gymnastics groups were directed by gymnastics instructor Marek Krakowiak.
Among the best gymnasts of the time were Helfgot, Wajnberg, Majorczyk, Fajga, Kelczygłowski, Rabinowicz, Rozencwajg, Rajch, Szaja and Szlezinger.
Among the women, Giske, Zlotnik, Trajman, Mauer, Erlich and Szlezinger particularly distinguished themselves.
The annual tournament celebrations, held at the Nowości cinema and also at the city park, always produced excitement within the population due to their high standard and attracted new forces to the sporting movement.
Presidents of the association, Dr Hipolit Gajsler, Chaim Dawidowicz and the dentist Aron Perec, contributed greatly to the success.
Mr Szmerek [Shmaryahu] Chajutin performed the duties of president particularly well. Together with Szmul Nemirowski and Michał Ruzewicz, they very much raised the union's level. During their time, the unification with the Jewish Sports Club Jordania also transpired and the union's tenyear anniversary was held, which was celebrated with the participation of many guest athletes from different cities in Poland.
Also, at the Turnfest tournament of all Jewish gymnastics organisations in Poland, which was held in Łódź in 1928, our gymnasts received second place.
The union also had a band ensemble comprising forty members. It was conducted by Mr Rapackewicz, and later by the police band's conductor.
The ensemble was created thanks to the efforts of Sz. Chajutin and Dr L. Asz.
One of the ŻTGS's interesting divisions was that of the cyclists, which existed from the beginning and until the unification with Maccabi and, afterwards, until the outbreak of the Second World War.
This division was headed by Józef Rozenberg and, among its members were Owieczka, Borzykowski, Brojn, Bryll, Goldfarb, Haftka, Hofman, Wolman, Wassermann, Wajnberg, Włodowski, Zuzowski, Tenenbaum, Laks, Mauer, Majerowicz, Epelbaum, Rabinowicz and Szacher distinguished themselves in particular.
Among the female cyclists, the best were Mses. Altman, Brojn, Nirenberg, Fajnrajch, Fichtencwajg, Fiszman and Szylit.
Larger outings were also organised (treks of up to 30 kilometres), in which all the Zagłębie cycling divisions participated and our cyclists always distinguished themselves.
After Mr Krakowiak had left his work at the ŻTGS, Mr Dunter[?] from BielskoBiała took his place and the women's division was run by Miss H. Trajman.
For a short time, rhythmical gymnastics for women was taught by Mr Borzykowski, from HaKoach of Będzin.
The sudden death of Shmaryahu Chajutin zl in 1929 paralysed work for a certain time. However, a little later, Dr L. Asz was placed at the top of the association and he carried out his work with the energetic participation of Szmul Nemirowski, Michał Ruzewicz, L. Wajs, Ruben Bryll, Fajga, Miss Trajman, Józef Rozenberg and Efroim Szmaragd (who was involved in Jewish sport in Częstochowa until his tragic death, when he was shot by the Nazi murderers together with his wife, the famous athlete Ms Nirenberg, and their son, when they hid themselves in a bunker).
The ŻTGS also had a ladies' volleyball and basketball division, in which Mses. Hauptman, Wolman, Trajman, Jakubowicz, Lenkinska, Nirenberg, Kantor, Kornbrod, Rozenberg and Sztajer especially distinguished themselves.
There was also a division for men, where Binder, Wajnberg, Przerowski, Kaufman, Rajch and Szajn distinguished themselves. On many occasions, they took first place at meetings with players of other sporting unions.
The association also had an exercise group for male seniors which, during the winter, held gymnastic exercises twice weekly. They were conducted by instructors Wajs, Szaja and Szmaragd.
Such exercise groups were also arranged for older women.
Szmaragd, who himself was a good light [i.e., track and field] athlete, also created a fine athletics section. He saw in suitable candidates for athletics and took pains to teach and develop them.
In the middle of the night, one could see him running in the Częstochowa streets with his athletes, testing their running capabilities in order to advance them to serious running competitions!
Among the distinguished sportsmen of the athletics section were Zeligman, Jasiński, the Chwat brothers, Kaufman and Krauze.
For some time, he gave over a large section of his house on Aleja Wolności for gymnastic volleyball exercises, mainly those of the children's groups.
The merging of the ŻTGS Warta with Ascola brought a positive, new change for the development of Jewish sport in Częstochowa.
Negotiations regarding this unification were conducted, on Warta's behalf, by Dr L. Asz, Szmul Nemirowski, A. Szmaragd, L. Wajs, Ruben Bryll and J. Fajga.
Warta Sports Club
The Warta Sports Club was in a fortunate situation. One of its best sportsmen, Efroim Szmaragd, provided it with a venue, at first at Aleja NMP 10 and, later, at the house of H. Ajzner, at Aleja NMP 23.
This enabled Warta to quickly develop, becoming the most active club in the entire Zagłębie region.
Although the assimilationist factions usually prevailed in this club, it was, after all, the glory and pride of Częstochowa Jewry and this enabled it to attract to its ranks Jewish youth from all circles.
At first, Warta specialised mainly in football and it won the Częstochowa championship several times, as well as receiving first place among the sports clubs of the Zagłębie region, to which Częstochowa formally belonged.
At that time, the administration comprised Raicom (longserving Prezes), Dr L. Goldsztajn, S. Gajsler, Adv. Hasenfeld, the Zygman brothers, W. Chajutin, Markowicz (owner of the factory in Gnaszyn), Adv. Markowicz, Alderman T. Fogelbaum, Pinkus, Kempner, T. Rotbart, Alderman P. Szpiro and Adv. Szperling.
Warta's patroness was Mrs Bela Zygman.
Sporting affairs were organised by S. Gajsler, Adv. Hasenfeld, Daniel and S. Markowicz, Benjamin Ferens, Efroim Szmaragd and Natan Szechter.
We should also mention the names of the Warta footballers who distinguished themselves, in particula: B. Biber, Józef Goldman, Jakub Goldman, S. Markowicz, J. Kornbrod, L. Rozenberg, Z. Rotsztajn, A. Goldszajder, L. Gewercman, T. Grinberg, Traubman, Szusterman and K. Szerer.
Warta had several teams, including a juniors division, which was also finely represented. Of these, we must also mention Orensztajn, Biber, J. Broniatowski, L. Grundman, Dawid Diament, M. Wajnsztok, J. Majer, Skweres, Natan Epsztajn, Kozusznik, Kempner, M. Rozencwajg, the Rotsztajn brothers, Szmaragd, Natan Szerer, Michał Szperling and Szczupak.
Warta also played against the representatives of the Land of Israel once and won (21).
From 1928 onwards, after the city authorities had allocated it a sportsvenue on ulica Koszarowa Street, Warta continued to expand and won a great victory over Arlenta.
Its further development was also greatly aided by a gift from its honorary member, Dr Batawja, who donated to it a spacious venue Aleja NMP 26. Warta conducted a variety of activities there. It also organised entertainment and brought over the operettatheatre from Wilna, which performed there regularly. The notable artistic talents this theatre possessed attracted many visitors and brought the sports club large revenues.
Lectures on various topics were also arranged there, which provided the Częstochowa public with spiritual pleasure.
Thanks to its abundant income, Warta created various branches of sport.
In the athletics division, which was directed by Efroim Szmaragd Efrojm [here, surname], A. Goldszajder, S. Grajcer, Majorczyk, Engel, Forberg, the Rotsztajn brothers, Sztajer and Szmaragd distinguished themselves in various disciplines.
A good cyclists' division was also organised, which was headed by the Częstochowa cycling veteran Pinkus and Mr Neznanowski.
Warta also had good basketball and volleyball teams, directed by H. Goldsztajn, and a good table tennis division, directed by A. Horowicz. Its first six representative players were Bieda, Gitler, Helman, Zamel, J. Zelkowicz and Miska.
Natan Epsztajn represented the fencing section and Mr Kozusznik tennis.
Later, Warta left its large venue at Aleja NMP 26 and [moved to] the municipal theatre's premises (formerly the Harmonia hall), which later became, following the unification, Maccabi's venue.
Negotiations regarding the unification and the conveyance of Warta's assets to the Jewish Sports Club Maccabi were conducted by the Warta founders Dr Goldman, Adv. Hasenfeld, Daniel Markowicz, Alter Rotbart and Eng. Raicom.
The Jewish Sports Union Maccabi
One of the most beautiful chapters in the history of our city's communal life was the merging of all the Jewish municipal sports clubs in 1933.
This unification inspired great satisfaction in almost all layers of Jewish society.
At the first unificationmeeting, the Chairman of the Jewish Kehilla, Mr Jakób Rozenberg, was elected President of the unified administration. VicePresidents were Dr L. Asz, Dr Goldman, Szmul Nemirowski and Eng. Raicom and, members of the board of management were Chaim Birnholc, Ruben Bryll, L. Wajs, Natan Tajchner, Ms Trajman, Dr Epsztajn, Jakób Fajga, Dr Kagan, Eng. Kisin and Alter Rotbart.
The administration chose a sports committee comrising Efroim Szmaragd, as Chairman, and Ruben Bryll, Chaim Birnholc, H. Goldsztajn, A. Horowicz, L. Wajs, Ms Trajman, J. Fajga and Herman Szaja.
Separate representatives were also chosen:
Cultural work was directed by Dr L. Asz and Szmul Nemirowski. Every Saturday, in the late afternoon, they arranged an Oyneg Shabbes lectures and singing of a mixed choir, directed by conductor Rotenberg.
To mark the twentieth anniversary of Jewish sport in Częstochowa, in 1935, a gymnastics tournament was organised, with participation of almost all sports clubs in Zagłębie and Oberschlesien [Górny Śląsk]. This was organised by Henech Goldsztajn and Herman Szaja and took place at the municipal stadium, with the participation of the military orchestra of the 27th [Regiment of] infantrymen. However, the band refused to take part in Maccabi's march through the Częstochowa streets, from their venue to the stadium.
It should be noted that the Polish Sports Club Sokół participated in the celebration.
In 1934, boxers Binder and Szajn (who live now in Israel) were chosen to represent the Częstochowa Maccabi at the Maccabiada in the Land of Israel.
At the celebratory akademia that was held that same year to propagate the Maccabi ideal, in which participated Magister Dykies [?] from the Maccabi Central Committee in Warsaw, the Maccabi members Szulim Przerowski, Izaak Rabinowicz and Nachman Sztajnhart were also approved for Aliyah to the Land of Israel.
In 1938, shortly before his Aliyah to the Land of Israel, at the initiative of the activist Ezriel Jakubowicz (now, in Israel, he is now called E. BenMoshe), the mixed choir's activity was renewed, under directorship of the conductor Rozenwajn.
Shortly before the outbreak of the Second World War, Maccabi's last annual general meeting was held, at which the following administration was elected (alphabetically [in Heb.]): Chaim Birnholc, Adv. L. Goldberg, H. Goldsztajn, Gomulinski, M. Działoszyński, Adv. Hocherman, Natan Tajchner, Dr Tenenbaum, Szmul Nemirowski, E. Erlich, Alter Rotbart and S. Sztencel.
The auditing committee comprised R. Bryll, L. Wajs, J. Fajga, E. Proport and M. Ruzewicz.
In the Court of Honour comprised J. Gitler, A. Zorski, Ms H. Trajman, the dentist A. Perec and Eng. Kisin.
The meeting unanimously elected Dr R. Asz and Jakób Fajga as honorary Maccabi members, in gratitude for their services over a number of years.
The Jewish Sport Club Ascola
This club was founded by a group of young people who lived in the vicinity of the Stary Rynek (the Old Market square).
Its founders were Zajnwel and Mojsze Berkowicz, Mojsze Tauzewicz, Izrail Tiberg, Dawid and Chaim Trembacki, Miska, Cudek Fajner and Henech Koplewicz.
These few, young men were very energetic and adept at organisational work. They succeeded in interesting the management of the Craftsmen's Union (which was located on Old Market 13, headed by Chaim Wajnsztok as Prezes, and Dawid Filipowicz and Daniel Dankewicz as VicePrezesi) in their plan and they immediately agreed to take the sport club (which, at first, was called Ha'Tzvi [The Deer]) under its guardianship.
Wajsfelner, Wajcberg, Waldberg, Wolberg, Tauzewicz, Tiberg, two Trembacki, Luksemburg, Srebrnik, Erlich, Połoniec, Piłowski, Plawner, Falk, Frank, Fridman, Rozencwajg, Rajman, Szternberg and Szymonowicz
The Craftsmen's city council member Józef Goldberg also helped the club extensively.
The number of members grew consistently and the football division created a good atmosphere around itself, which made it possible to recruit members from various circles.
Its active members included J. Orbach, Aron Ajlenberg, J. Biber, A. Berliner, H., Z. and Ch. Gliksman, B. Hofman, A. Wolberg, A. Waldberg, M. Wajsberg, N. Zlotnik, M. Tauzewicz, W. and Ch. Trembacki, Jarkowizna, Z. Jurysta, Laswan [?], Najman, the Secemski brothers, H. Koplewicz, M. Kornberg, M. Rozenblum and N. Sztajnhart.
The administration also saw to the spiritual development of the members and, every Saturday, arranged meetings, which were directed by one of the pioneers training in Częstochowa.
The youth gladly came to hear this pioneer's lectures, which were rich in content and very much broadened the club members' knowledge.
Following the split in Jordania, Ascola drew the best of its members from there to its ranks.
Chaim Birnholc and S. Goldberg began working energetically for the Ascola club and they were able to bring Dr Frankenberg, the Assistant Surgeon Moszkowicz and other respected figures in as honorary members.
A chess section was also created, which developed nicely.
In order to increase its income, the Ascola Sports Club also began organising balls and events, which brought it such a large revenue, that it was able to rent its own venue at Aleja Wolności 37 and to purchase necessary sports equipment. It also opened a table tennis section and organised a fine cycling division, which was directed by the Prezes Leibel Herc and Motl Wajsblum. This division participated in 30 km. sprintingwagers [races?], which were organised by the Zionist weekly, Unser Weg.
The writer of these lines represented the club at the Kielce Football Association.
(He performed the duties of Secretary from 1938 until the outbreak of the Second World War, which brought an end to the Jewish people in Poland and also destroyed all that the Jews had built and owned.
Prior to that downfall, Ascola was affiliated with the Central Maccabi Association).
Gideon, Polonia, Jordania
The ŻTGS was a force and a guide for Jewish youth in the field of gymnastics.
Following the PolishBolshevik war, in the Jewish street (and in the Polish one as well), there was a distinct urge to open and develop the sporting movement among various clubs, as well as in the Jewish middleschools.
It was thus that the Gideon Sports Club was founded then by the Craft's School. Among its players were S. Goldberg, Woznica, Zandberg, Zilberszac, E. and R. Rozencwajg, the Słomkowicz brothers, as well as Jakubowicz, Manela, Siwan [?] and Koniarski (Sosnowiec lads who were studying in Częstochowa), who particularly distinguished themselves.
Upon finishing the school, the graduatesportsmen turned into Polonia, carrying their registration through under the name…Jordania!
They conducted their activities at the Poalei Zion Right venue on ulica Garibaldiego. Their first administration comprised Chaim Birnholc, Herszel Blanger [?], Jakób Hofman, Herszel Zajdman, Józef Epsztajn, Ziskind Fridrich and Mendel Rechnic.
For financial reasons, Jordania translocated to the venue of Poalei Zion Left, at Aleja 12.
At the time, Jordania was represented in its matches against other groups by players W. Orzechowski, L. Goldberg, M. Gewercman, Gersztajn, K. Grinberg, Zandberg, L. Zilbersztajn, J. Tauzewicz, J. Czarnylas, the Jakubowicz brothers, J. Nudelman, I.M. Estrajch, P. Fridenberg, Sz. Kaufman, Kempner and E. Rozencwajg, as well as members Cukerman and Cincinatus from Radomsko, who would come over to play in different Jordania matches.
Jordania was mainly involved in football competitions. Its attempt to organise a cyclists' section did not succeed.
Following a demand from Poalei Zion Left, in accordance with the instructions from their Central Committee that Jordania should also participate in this party's sporting activities among its Polish members, Jordania was liquidated and became included in the ŻTGS.
Maccabi, Sport, Lauda, Szturm, Aviv and Gwiazda
In the early 1920's, various small sports clubs began organising themselves in Częstochowa but, due to various reasons and above all owing to the scant interest these little creatures aroused in the youth and, more importantly, due to the lack of appropriate sports venues and financial resources, they were forced to quickly liquidate.
Maccabi and its clubs were the exception. They were located near the Jewish high school and recruited their members and players from among the pupils, especially from the lower classes.
Their main players were: Lateiner, S. Haftka, Zytnicki, L. Zilbersztajn, G. Lerner, Najman, Salat and Rzezak.
The pupils of the higher classes, as well as the Jewish pupils of the Polish high schools, were concentrated in Sport and Lauda.
Their main players were Goldman, Goldszajder, Gewercman, Hauptman, Epsztajn, Kornbrod, Rozencwajg and both Rotsztajns.
Youth from ulica Warszawska and its vicinity mainly took part in Szturm. Its main players were Bajgelman and Herszel Gotajner.
Youth of the Herzliya organisation took part in Aviv participated. Sadly, I do not remember the names of their main players.
Gwiazda was comprised main of members drawn from ulica Garncarska Street and its vicinity. Their players were Dawid Birnholc, Berliner, Jasinowski, Dawid Federman and Karmazin.
The matches of these sport unions always took place either at the Old Market where, each time, they would be pounded with stones by Polish hooligans, or at the municipal stadium, where the Polish guards kept order for the payment of handsome bribes.
Such a situation could not last long and everything was liquidated.
The Workers' Sport Club Admira
As I have mentioned already, together with the foundation of burghers' sport clubs, separate workers' sport clubs were also established. The most important among them was the workers' sport club Admira.
This club began its activity back in the 1920's under the name Ognisko [Pol.; Fire]. Owing to annoyances on the part of the Polish authorities, the club was often forced to change its nam earlier to Splendid, later to Błyskawica and, lastly, to Admira.
The club's organisers were Owieczka, Urbach, Berkensztadt, Glikman, Grin, A. Domb, Włoch, Zawadzki, Tendler, Secemski, Lewi and Szmul Essig, Majer Rozenberg, Szaja, Szwarc, Sztajer and Szlimmer.
The club was under the influence of the independent socialist party Vereinigt, which was headed by Dr Józef Kruk and Dudek Szlezinger.
Admira was loved within Polish and Jewish workers' circles and among a part of the bourgeois elements for its energetic and ambitious demeanour in different sports competitions.
Its member Glikman was its representative in the Kielce Football Association.
Among its table tennis players, Ch. Kenigsberg distinguished himself.
On the last Saturday before the outbreak of the Second World War, Admira excelled in a match and ascended to [The Football Association's] A grade.
(But, with that, its existence ended, together with everything that was Jewish. The Nazis put an end to it all!)
2nd row (sitting): Gotajner, Krauskopf, Szlezinger, Gostynski, Henryk Markusfeld, Maurycy Neufeld, Goldszajder, Eng. Assorodobraj and Lemel.
4th row (standing): Dr Horowicz, Chaskelewicz, Unknown, Braun, Helfgot, Krauze, Szlezinger, infantryman Alter, Częstochowski and two Unknown.
5th row (standing): Szaja, Kempner, Proport and Unknown, Goldberg, Kaufman, Unknown, Urbach and Szajewicz.
6th row (standing): two Unknown, Lewkowicz, Oderberg, Storozum, two Unknown, Rubinsztajn and Simche Rajch.
7th row (standing): Unknown, Krauskopf, two Unknown, Szlezinger, Lemel, Rozencwajg, Szmarak and Unknown.
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