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[Pages 483-486]

The Jewish Society
for Knowledge of the Country

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!)


An outing to Mirów, in 1929, by the Jewish Society for Knowledge of the Country in Częstochowa
Among others, in the photo are: Sz. Frank, A. Luksemburg, Kopinski, Rabinowicz, Borzykowski, Sztajnhardt, Mmes. Szuma Ajer and Szlezinger, Lewkowicz, Mrs Ganana [?], Erlich, Frajmauer and Mrs Haper


[Pages 487-492]

Jewish Theatre

Szeftel Zak

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 theatre–city where, until then, the best Jewish troupes had appeared, but only for limited performances, a theatre company, directed by actor–entrepreneur 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” – An–sky'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 prima–donna 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 theatre–committee 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 anti–Jewish 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, non–unionised 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 non–unionised troupe's actor–entrepreneur, after their every performance, agitated from the stage against the Częstochowa union–troupe, urging Jews not go due to political reasons because, and here he swore on his glued–on “beard and sidelocks”, ‘;the Actors' Union is a “Communist gniazdo [nest]”’ (the source – in the theatrical archives, YIVO, New York).

The anti–union 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 actor–entrepreneur Szlojme Herszkowicz, in partnership with the local theatre–personality, 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 stage–disciplines and was therefore crowned with the name “The Queen of Trash”. In serious theatre, but with a proper stage–manager, such a Regina Cukier would have doubtlessly held a respectable position.

Her partner in Częstochowa was the well–known 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 theatre–activist suddenly, recently, died in TelAviv, sixty–odd 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!)

[Pages 491-494]

A Few Words About the Drama Circle
(of the Jewish Touring Society in Częstochowa)

Fiszel Blumenkranc


Drama Circle of the TAZ Association in Częstochowa (in 1939)


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 stage–manager 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 natural–born 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 son–in–law, Winter as a “Misnaged” [enemy of Chassidism], and Zilberszac as Reb Hershele's mechuten[1], 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).

Translator's footnote:

  1. A mechuten is the father–in–law of one's child. Return

[Pages 493-500]

Our Jewish Press

E. Ben–Moshe


Zvi Hersz Fajwlowicz, one of the founders of the Jewish press in Częstochowa


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 “book–sellers”, 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 Reklamen–Blatt” [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 “Advertisements–Page” was not long–lived – only nine edition were published.

In 1913 a new paper appeared, the “Częstochower Wochen–Blatt[1] [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 1913–1919, 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 editor–in–chief. 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): Reklamen–Blatt, Wochen–Blatt, 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 Jew–hater Paczkowski, and that of the “Goniec Częstochowski” [Cz. Messenger] was Wilkuszewski, no small antisemite.

Translator's footnote:

  1. Although this and the subsequent names of periodicals were originally in Yiddish, I've used the German spellings here, which are basically identical, only pronounced slightly differently. Return

[Pages 501-520]

Sport and Sportsmen

Chaim Birnholc




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 Gymnastics–Sporting Association”[1] earned the seat of honour. It arranged a good administration, first–class 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[2] [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 ŻTG–S “Warta”.

Several political parties attempted to establish their own sports clubs, such as “Jutrznia” (Bund), “Nordia” (Beitar), “Gwiazda” (Poalei–Zion, Left) and “HaPoel” [Heb.; The Worker] (Poalei–Zion, Right). However, all these clubs were not long–lived 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, Vice–President; 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 Gymnastics–Sporting Association ŻTG–S

The revival of Jewish cultural–social 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 Gymnastics–Sporting 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 blue–andwhite flags to Błeszno, where the “Jewish Gymnastics–Sporting 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 Polish–Bolshevik 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 ten–year 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 ŻTG–S'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 ŻTG–S, Mr Dunter[?] from Bielsko–Biała 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 z”l 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 ŻTG–S 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 ŻTG–S “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 (long–serving 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 (2–1).


From 1928 onwards, after the city authorities had allocated it a sports–venue on ulica Koszarowa Street, “Warta” continued to expand and won a great victory over “Arlenta[3].

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 operetta–theatre 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 unification–meeting, the Chairman of the Jewish Kehilla, Mr Jakób Rozenberg, was elected President of the unified administration. Vice–Presidents 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:

Medical supervision of the athletes was entrusted to doctors L. Goldman, Tenenbaum, Nowak, Epsztajn and Kagan.

Cultural work was directed by Dr L. Asz and Szmul Nemirowski. Every Saturday, in the late afternoon, they arranged an “Oyneg Shabbes[4] – lectures and singing of a mixed choir, directed by conductor Rotenberg.


The Częstochowa ŻTG–S basketball team playing against the team of the 27th Infantry Regiment of the Polish military (before the game)
In the photo: Binder and Szajn (both in Israel), Przerowski, Kaufman, Wajnberg and Rajch


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[5] 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. Ben–Moshe), 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 Vice–Prezesi) in their plan and they immediately agreed to take the sport club (which, at first, was called “Ha'Tzvi” [The Deer]) under its guardianship.


The “Ascola” Sports Union in Częstochowa – the inauguration of the cycling–season in 1932.
In the photo (alphabetically [in Heb.]): Urbach, Ofman, Borzykowski, Biber, two Birnholc, Perec Berliner, Berkowicz, Mrs Gotajner, Goldberg, two Chaskelewicz, Woznica, Winczman and Mrs Wajsblum
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. sprinting–wagers [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 ŻTG–S was a force and a guide for Jewish youth in the field of gymnastics.

Following the Polish–Bolshevik 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 middle–schools.

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 graduate–sportsmen 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 ŻTG–S.


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!)


Częstochowa ŻTG–S in 1914
1st row (laying beneath from right to left): Unknown, Gostynski (the younger), Kempner, Goldszajder (the younger) and Kremski.
2nd row (sitting): Gotajner, Krauskopf, Szlezinger, Gostynski, Henryk Markusfeld, Maurycy Neufeld, Goldszajder, Eng. Assorodobraj and Lemel.rd row (standing): Szmulewicz, Klajnman, Lemel, Brum, Sztajnic, Brum, Lemel, Gotajner, Filipowicz, Mas and Mark Asz.
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.


Translator's footnotes:

  1. Żydowskie Towarzystwo Gimnastyczno–Sportowe in Polish – or “ŻTG–S”. Return
  2. On the following page, the author calls this club “Jutrznia” (Matins). Return
  3. A Polish football team. Spelled ארלענטא in Yiddish, the proper spelling of the name in Polish is as yet uncertain. Return
  4. “Oyneg Shabbes”, literally “joy of the Sabbath” in Heb., refers here to a celebratory gathering held on Shabbes, usually with food, singing, etc. Return
  5. Early form of the “Maccabiah” Jewish Olympics. Return


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