The first Jewish families to settle in Częstochowa were only allowed to build their houses on the western bank of the Warta River, where the Jewish ghetto was located, far from the Christian town of Częstochówka, which was high up on the hill. Over the course of time, Jews were permitted to expand their boundaries westwards (the river blocked the eastern side). They first built first the Stary Rynek (Old Market Square) and then the Nowy Rynek (New Market Square), in which the Jews were able to establish important financial centres and commercial areas. It is said that, on the grounds of the Nowy Rynek, there was once a Christian cemetery and that the place had remained uninhabited after it had been relocated. Perhaps the Jews were allowed to build houses there in order to revive the location. The Szczupak family was among the first to build their houses there.
The Szczupak Family
This family was rooted into our city for generations upon generations. Its origins were in nearby Wieluń. They participated in the construction of the Old Synagogue and their members appear in the list of the first donors who purchased permanent pews there, which were passed on by right of inheritance.
The Szczupak House was among the first to be built in this new area. It is thought that it was built in before the Nowy Rynek church, for we may assume that they would not have permitted a Jew to build a tall house of twoandahalf stories directly in front of it. On the inside, the house was built as a fortress and, in the yard which was tiled, a well was dug. The fittings inside were those of a wealthy burgher. It should be mentioned that a sink and tap for netilas yadaim, which could be hidden inside the wall, were installed in the diningroom. This was a rare technological feature in those days.
Reb Kalman Szczupak
Reb Kalman Szczupak, who lived in the 19th century, was one of the old Kotzker Chassidim, and was later [a follower] of Ger. He gained a favourable reputation in the entire vicinity. People would gather at his house on holidays, to fulfil the precept of And thou shalt rejoice in thy feast [Deuteronomy 16:14]. On the Seventh Day of Pesach, when the hearts of his guests were merry with wine, they would pour water on the floor to cross the sea. Reb Kalman reached a very old age, dying in Częstochowa in 1908. He had an only son and several daughters. His wife Bajla (née Grylak) also came from an eminent and acclaimed family with a fine pedigree.
The Szczupak family was also famous for its business. Reb Kalman Szczupak held the franchise for the sale of tobacco in Częstochowa and the surrounding area. At the end of the 19th century, he significantly expanded the scope of his business, together with his son Reb Mendel.
Reb Mendel Szczupak continued in his father's footsteps. He was also a Gerer chassid. He ran a liquor and beer business from his house on ulica Warszawska. His wife Cylka [née Hercygier] was from Będzin.
They had three sons and three daughter Samson (Szamsia) ran a tobacconist shop at the Pruszycki house in the Nowy Rynek, Zelig was the owner of a cutlery factory (knives, spoons and forks), whose son Józef made Aliyah after the Holocaust and died in Jerusalem and his third son Mojsze inherited his father's business when he died.
The three daughters were married Udla to Reb Juda Perle, Sala to Mr Sz. Ferleger and Pola to Mr Dawid Szlezinger.
Reb Kalman married [his children] to respected, wealthy families with fine pedigrees. He married his daughter Chaja Sura to Reb Mojsze Chaim Szterling, the son of the Gerer Rebbe the Chidushei Ha'Rim's sister. Reb Mojsze Chaim Szterling was a distinct Torah scholar with wide understanding, who was also a communal activist and a sociable man. Tragically, his wife died in her prime and he returned to Warsaw and did not live long.
His children were Reb [Hersz] Enoch Henech Szterling, who married the daughter of Reb Szmul Koniecpolski, the owner of a large estate near Częstochowa. Reb Enoch was a wholesale grocer. He died in his prime, leaving a son and a daughter. (The son perished with his family in the Holocaust). The daughter, Sara, married the journalist Szmul Frank. She survived and lives now in Israel. (Izrael served in the Russian army and was murdered by one of the officers).
[Pinkus] Zelig left Częstochowa in his youth and settled in France, where he married. The couple had a son and a daughter, Mojsze Chaim and Chaja Sura (both were annihilated together with their families in the Holocaust years).
And these were the daughters Fajga Laja, who was orphaned in infancy and was brought up in her grandfather Reb Kalman's house and married Reb [Dawid] Berisz Tiberg, the son of Reb Nuta Tiberg, who was one of the old Vurke [Warka] Chassidim and an inlaw of the Aleksander Rebbes, and who leased Prince Lubomirski's large estate and was very opulent. Reb Berisz was a young man of Torah study, an Aleksander chassid [who] did much for the poor. He ran a timber business. He emigrated to Palestine in 1935 with all his family. They lived in Rehovot. Reb Berisz Tiberg and his wife Fajga Laja are buried there.
Pola married Reb Abram Szpaltyn from Pławno. She died in her prime, leaving two sons, Mordche and Mojsze Chaim (they perished together with her husband in the Holocaust).
Gitla married Mr Zorgenlos. They lived in Germany before the First World War and later in Belgium (she died there with her husband and son Mojsze Chaim during the Holocaust).
Reb Kalman Szczupak's second soninlaw, the husband of his daughter Cypra, was Reb Chaskel Fiszel, who came from a wealthy family in Sosnowiec and Będzin. Of Reb [Chaskel] Fiszel, one could say that he had Torah and greatness in one place [Talmud Bavli, Gittin, 59a]. He was a true Gerer chassid, a Torah scholar, with elevated traits of character and a house open to the city's poor. He was the owner of the DziubasFiszel soap factory. He donated a synagogue, which was named in his honour Reb Chaskel's Shtiebel. He acquired a good name in the city and its vicinity for his good deeds. His only son Reb Józef, who was a Torah scholar and a chassid, married Fajgla [Mindla], the daughter of Reb [Moszek] Jakub Lewin of Łódź, one of the wealthiest Gerer Chassidim.
[Reb Chaskel Fiszel's] sonsinlaw: His daughter [Hendla] Fajgla's husband was Reb Anczel Warszawski. He was a known public figure and one of the city's worthies, one of the founders of Ha'Mizrachi in Częstochowa and its representative on the Kehilla Council. He was one of the progressive Gerer Chassidim. He was a member of various financial institutions and philanthropic institutions and an opulent businessman, a former partner in the WarszawskiFajerman firm.
Reb Chaskel Fiszel's second soninlaw, his daughter Rywka's husband, was Reb Ze'ev [Uszer] Wolf Piotrkowski, a son of the wealthy Chassidic Piotrkowski family from Łódź. He was a distinct Torah scholar and a Gerer chassid, active in the Chassidic circles and Agudas Yisroel in Częstochowa. Families with many children were descended from this couple (they all perished in the Holocaust).
Reb Kalman Szczupak's youngest soninlaw, his daughter Rudla's husband, was Reb [Abram] Hersz Swiatly. He was a Gerer chassid and a wealthy businessman. Their son Izrael Leib was the only Jewish expert on porcelain kilns in town. His two other sons, Pinkus and Aleksander (Olek), and his daughters settled in France. One of his daughters was married there to Mr Krebs they made Aliyah before the Holocaust and she died in Jerusalem. (His second daughter, Szprynca, perished in the Holocaust together with her family).
The Szwarcbaum Family
The Szwarcbaum family was also one of the oldest and most respected ones. It was extensive and very wellknown in our city. One of the family's progenitors, Reb Rywen Szwarcbaum, one of the old Radomsko Chassidim, lived and was active in the second half of the 19th century. He opened a grocery business in the Stary Rynel (Old Market). As was the custom in those days, his wife managed the business, so that he could study Torah. The shop was named after his wife Małka, whom they called Rywen's Małka. She was of the Szyff family, which was also an old, important and respected family in Częstochowa. Reb Rywen, despite being immersed most of the time in Torah study, was a sociable man and many came to his door seeking his counsel.
Reb Rywen passed away in 1907, and his wife, Rywen's Małka, in 1920. They left sons and daughters (all in Częstochowa), who were respected and important in the city.
Their children were Reb [Abram] Mordka Szwarcbaum, a man of noble features and a Radomsko chassid. All the townspeople called him Uncle Mordche and his wife Auntie Kajla. She was the daughter of Reb Szaja Szyff. They owned a tobacconist shop. Their affectionate nicknames were given them due to their great concern for the local poor, whom they supported generously, sensibly and wisely.
Their son Isachar emigrated in his youth to Canada, where he volunteered during the First World War to the Jewish Legion in Palestine. Their second son, Uszer, made Aliyah in his youth and was among the first Częstochowa pioneers in the Land of Israel. In the days of the British Mandate, he served for many years as a policeman and also continued in this occupation once the State of Israel was established. He is now a resident of Kiryat Chaim. Their third son, Józef, was active in the Zionist Organisation in Częstochowa and in the local Land of Israel Bureau.
Reb Józef Boruch [son of Reb Rywen] Szwarcbaum was a Torah expert and a Radomsko chassid. He developed a small industry for the manufacture of toys and was connected with many merchants throughout the country. He died in his prime in Warsaw during the First World War in 1918, separated from his family, because he was unable to return to Częstochowa due to the War. His daughter Ruchla emigrated to Palestine in 1925 as one of our city's first pioneers. She married M.Ch. Tiberg and they live in Tel Aviv. They were able to bring her mother Alta (née Werner) over as well, and she is buried in Rehovot. (Her two sons Jakub and Herszlik, Ruchla's brothers, perished in the Holocaust).
Reb Izaak [son of Reb Rywen] Szwarcbaum was a chassid, a man of Torah study and a prayerleader, one of the shtiebel's worthies. His trade was as a textiles wholesale merchant on ulica Ogrodowa. (He perished in the Holocaust, together with his wife Ruchla [née Glecer] and their family). One son, Chaskel, survived and is now in the U.S.
Reb Michal [son of Reb Rywen] Szwarcbaum was the pride of the family. As a distinguished Torah scholar, he was the dean and manager of the Keser Torah Yeshivah in Częstochowa. He was offered a rabbinical position, but declined. His wife's name was Hena (née Rozyna). They had a leather goods shop in the Stary Rynek. The Zionist ideal took root in their home and their children were fluent in Hebrew. (This family, too, perished in the Holocaust).
(Reb Jankiel [son of Reb Rywen] Szwarcbaum was a chassid and a man of Torah study, and popular with everyone. He perished in the Holocaust together with his wife Rywka [née Wajnrach] and their family, except for their son Rywen, who was saved and came to Israel after the Holocaust and lives with his family in BneiBrak).
And these are [Reb Rywen and Małka's] daughters:
Taube Laja married Reb Dawid Borensztajn, a respected man who was treated with deference. Their son Szaja emigrated to Palestine in 1925, but was forced to return due to various reasons. He was a member of the dramatic troupe in Częstochowa. (They all perished in the Holocaust with their family). Their son Jakób Zvi [Hersz], who survived, came to Israel after the Holocaust and lives in Be'erSheva.
Marjem married Reb Don Kornberg from Koniecpol. A scholar and a chassid, he was engaged in commerce. He died young. (His wife and children perished in the Holocaust).
Kendla married Reb Mojsze Szaulewicz from Zawiercie. [He came from] an illustrious family, relatives of the Amshinover Rebbe. [He was] an Aleksander chassid. They owned a grocery store on the Stary Rynek. (He left this world in a manner befitting one of the tzaddikim. On the High Holidays of 5703 (1942), the day after Yom Kippur, when the terrible Aktion commenced, he said the Vidui [Confession] prayer, while the family worried about the hardships entailed in taking him out of the ghetto together with all those being banished. The day preceding the horrendous Eve of Sukkos (the days of the second Aktion), he told his family that he felt his end was nigh. With complete lucidity, he bade them farewell. Afterwards, he recited Sh'ma Yisroel and his soul expired in purity. He was buried on ulica Kawia, in the shroud he had prepared for himself in advance. Their sons Rywen and Rachmiel were saved from the claws of the Nazis. They came to Israel and live with their families in Holon. The rest of the family set out together with all the townspeople on the path that led to their destruction).
The Zilberszac Family
[This was] one of the most respected and established families. From the second half of the 19th century, the name of Reb Szmul Aryeh God Zilberszac zl, who was called Reb Godel (Sr.), is still remembered. Born in 1850, he was a young man of Torah study, who respected the rabbis and was wellliked and popular within the Chassidic circles of his generation, both in the surrounding area and further afield. He was crowned with the crown of a good name.
In addition to the estate he owned near Częstochowa, he also opened a wholesale timber and crate manufacturing business which supplied the city's factories. He died very young, before his thirtieth year, leaving six children. The oldest was eleven and the youngest, Godel, was born, after his father's death, in 1880. They were brought up by his young wife Matla (née Roziewicz) who provided them with a diversified education and continued running the timber business. She gained fame as one of the women of valour of her era in Częstochowa. She was renowned for her kindness and her good deeds for the city's poor. Even after her children had all married, she would muster her daughters to bake challes [Shabbes bread] and prepare Shabbes meals for the needy and for the eminent ones among them in particular. She performed all these deeds secretly and discreetly, so as not to shame them.
Once she had married all her children off, arranging for them appropriate matches worthy of her family, she remarried (prior to the First World War) to Reb Nuta [Natan Izaak] Tiberg, [and] closed her business and ceased the majority of her activities, which were exclusively good deeds. She passed away in 1919, with a good name, and is buried in Częstochowa.
Their children were:
Reb Izrael Szulim Zilberszac he received a traditional Chassidic education as a boy. As a young man, his mother sent him far away to study Torah with famous scholars. He was counted among the city's distinguished scholars and Chassidim. He was also endowed with fine features and was noble of spirit and generous of heart. At the beginning of the 20th century, he opened a sawmill and became one of our city's wealthier merchants.
He was highly regarded within the city's Chassidic circles. He was a follower of the first Rebbe of Pilica and the Rebbe stayed at his house on his visits to Częstochowa. (When the Rebbe fled Wieruszów during the First World War and moved to Częstochowa, he found him a luxurious apartment in the city centre. It was from this apartment that the Rebbe held his Chassidic court until his death on 10th Kislev 5681 [21st November 1920]. His son, the Rebbe Reb Chanoch Henech God ztzl hyd, continued leading the group from this same location.)
Reb Izrael Szulim Zilberszac was also a passionate lover of Zion. In 5684 , he visited Palestine together with the Gerer Rebbe and took part in the foundation of BneiBrak. He visited again in 5693  and immigrated there, with his wife Brandla (née Zilbersztejn) and a few family members, in 5695 , with the intention of settling permanently. Sometime afterwards, his property was burnt in a fire in Częstochowa and he travelled there to liquidate his business. (Very tragically, he was unable to return in time. He perished in the Holocaust together with his family four sons and four daughters, together with their households.) His wife died in TelAviv in 5696 . She is buried in the Nahalat Yitzhak Cemetery.
His son Mojsze [Aron] emigrated to Palestine in 1920. He was among the first Częstochowa pioneers and among the founders of Magen David Adom in TelAviv, who awarded him a certificate of distinction. He raised a family and opened a machineoperated carpentry, which he runs to this day.
Reb Izrael Szulim's daughter Natka Minski is also in Israel. She lives with her family in Holon. (Their son [Szmul] Godel, the only one of his many children [in Poland] who survived the Holocaust, attempted emigrating to Israel, but died on his way there.)
Godel Zilberszac (Jr.), Reb [Izrael] Szulim's younger brother, Godel Jr., owned a sawmill on ulica Koszarowa. He too was a lover of Zion and visited there in 5685  with his son. He returned [to Poland] and aspired to emigrate and settle in Palestine, but was unable to do so. He was a kindhearted and popular man. (He perished in the Holocaust together with his wife Marjem[] (née Borzykowski) and his entire household.)
Reb Godel Sr.'s daughters were:
Dwojra [Rachela] was the wife of Reb Chaim Altman. Reb Chaim was the head clerk at the storage facility of the wholesale grocer Altman in Częstochowa and also volunteered as accountant for a charity fund. Their daughter Hela married Tówja, the son of Reb Dawid Icyk Edelist. They married into other important families as well. Their daughters Karola and Macha live in Israel. The former is married to Mr Erlich, a clerk at Mivtachim [a pension fund], and the latter to Mr Manelowicz, one of the directors of the Elite [chocolate and coffee] factory. One other son survived, Mojsze, and he lives in Canada. (The rest perished in the Holocaust.)
Marjem was the wife of Reb Zyndel Szlezyngier, who was an architect a very rare profession for a Jew at the time. He was an enlightened, religious man and, in this spirit, he raised his children. His wife Marjem was a WIZO [Women's International Zionist Organisation] activist and helped the needy. She died in 5695 . (Her husband perished in the Holocaust.) Their son Godel emigrated to Israel and lives in Holon. Their granddaughter (their daughter's daughter), Marjem Rubin, who was saved, is also [in Israel]. (The rest of their children and relatives perished in the Holocaust.)
Sara was the wife of Reb Dawid Hersz Zilberszac, a member of the same family. He too was a chassid and a man of deeds. He owned a sawmill on ulica Krótka. His wife Sara was a public activist and helped the needy. She especially supported the home of the Rebbe Reb Awigdor'l Szapira. (Their son Szulim was martyred the Germans killed him in the market square, when he rebelled against their actions.) Their only son to survive, Szlojme, came to Israel and lives in Jerusalem.
Rywka was the wife of Reb [Moszek] Mordka Klajner. He was an Aleksander chassid, a man of Torah study and prayerleader at the shtiebel on ulica Targowa. They had an agency for petroleum and salt. [Rywka], too, followed in her mother's footsteps and aided others. Their two sons and two daughters live in Canada.
(There were innumerable large and deeply rooted families such as these in Częstochowa. They were, but are no more. Woe!)
Reb Józef Dziubas was one of Częstochowa's most magnificent figures. He was a man of exemplary gentlenes and his home was a true Jewish one, in which purity and warmth, generosity and nobleness always reigned.
He was born in the small town of Żarki. About onehundred years ago [i.e., c. 1870], a Jew named Izrael Dziubas appeared in this shtetl, together with his two sons, Józef and Dawid Majer, and they gained renown as experts in the manufacture of soap.
One of the shtetl's wealthy men, a Torah scholar, a chassid with a generous heart, Reb [Abram] Aba Sztybel, became their partner in the soap business. Through this partnership, the associates became good friends and, one day, Reb Aba made a match between his partner Józef and his sister Estera [Fajgla], who was a widow, and thus the associates became brothersinlaw as well.
The partnership in the soap business reaped success and the small town's borders became too narrow to contain their ambitions. This small business had become famous in the surrounding area. Reb Izrael and his sons decided to move the factory to Częstochowa. Reb Izrael Dziubas had meanwhile aged and the task of reestablishing the factory in Częstochowa fell to Reb Józef. He became partners with Reb Chaskel Fiszel. They purchased a lot in town at ulica Nadrzeczna 3638, on the banks of the Warta RIver, where they erected their homes, as well as a modern factory with innovative equipment, and their business progressed from day to day. The Dziubas & Fiszel Company's products gained a good reputation throughout the entire country and they became rich.
Reb Józef was not only famous as the greatest expert in his profession, but also as an honest and guileless man. His treatment of the workers at his factory, the merchants, and his kindness towards all people were notorious. His house was famed for its magnificence and, as head of the household, he was admired both by Jews and Gentiles. His wife also gained fame as a righteous woman with a warm heart and an open hand, who managed her household gracefully and sensibly.
They had two sons and four daughters, who all built splendid houses in town. Both the sons and the sonsinlaw all managed well in Częstochowa, and each and every family attained success for itself in all fields of life, as public figures, as masters of industry and as great merchants.
Reb Józef and his wife Estera were bound, heart and soul, to all matters pertaining to the aid of the wretched, the miserable and all sufferers. The shtiebel's paupers were to be found at his house, where they felt like household members in his company.
Reb Józef and his wife were actually able to emigrate to Palestine in their old age (in 5685 1925), together with their son Symcha and his household, and they lived there for about two years in TelAviv and BneiBrak. Living conditions in Palestine were very difficult for them, where a severe financial crisis prevailed at the time. The sons and daughters demanded that the parents and the whole entourage return to them in Częstochowa. Reb Józef regretted having to relinquish the Land of Israel, a fact he grieved for, silently, to the end of his days.
(Reb Józef and his wife had the privilege of departing to their afterlives at the onset of the horrifying Holocaust that was cast down on Polish Jewry. Reb Józef passed away in 5698 1938 [sic.] , on the second weekday of the Sukkos festival. About oneandahalf years later, in 5699 , as the Holocaust began, his wife Estera also died. Thousands attended both their funerals.)
The Dziubas Family Branches in Częstochowa
The eldest son, Reb Symcha, was a Torah scholar and a humble man. He married Rywka, the daughter of his uncle Reb [Abram] Aba Sztybel from Żarki. He was his father's living image, loved by the people, agreeable to man and God. [He was] one of the city's prominent figures. A Kehilla Council member, he was popular with all the community's circles and the first for all charitable activities. He made Aliyah twice the first time was in 5685 , together with his parents, and he returned after about two years. The second time was in 5698  he emigrated with his family (except for one son, Reb Leibel, who remained in the inferno) and settled permanently. He lived in Jerusalem, where he died on 8th Nisan 5718 [29th March 1958], at the age of 78. His wife Rywka died two years before, on 28th Nisan 5716 [26th April 1956]. They left four daughters and two sons, who all live with their families in Jerusalem and TelAviv.
The second son, Reb Icyk Majer, was wed to Sura, the daughter of Reb Henoch Rotblatt from Łódź and the granddaughter of the Rebbe of Pilica. Like his father, he was a chassid who pursued acts of charity. (He perished in the Holocaust, together with his wife, two sons, and the eldest daughter, Hendel Laja hyd.) A son and a daughter who live in America and two daughters who live in Israel have survived. They were rescued from the camps in Germany.
Their daughter Sura married Reb Jakub Hersz Fajerman, owner of the Fajerman company in the Stary Rynek. He was very wealthy, a generous and charitable man, modest in his ways, a chassid and an important activist for the Machzikei Hadas cheder in town. Very few were actually aware of Reb Jakub Hersz Fajerman's acts of charity and generosity. (When Hitler's troops rounded up the city's worthies at Metalurgia on ulica Krótka and brutally abused them, he too was hit by the enemy's bullets and was killed there.) Of the entire Fajerman family, only his son Mojżesz and his wife Adela (née Adler), who live in Paris, and Nina, the daughter of Reb Alter Kestenberg, who lives in Australia, have survived.
Sura's twin sister, Majtla, was wed to Reb Abram Henoch Finkelsztajn from Łódź, about whom we have published a special article in our book.
Mania was a sensitive type. She married Reb Abram Luzor [sic.] [Lejzer] Szajnfeld, about whom we have published a special article in our book.
The fourth and youngest daughter, Pessa, married Reb Abram Naftuli [Herc] Horowicz, about whom we have also published a special article in our book.
The son of Estera Dziubas from her first marriage with Reb Herszel Kestenberg, was brought up in her second husband Reb Józef's house. Following his marriage, he moved to Warsaw, where he opened a soap factory. He did well in business and his family also grew. (The entire Kestenberg family was also annihilated. Only few have survived and they are dispersed across the globe.) His sister Rywka (owner of the large tailoring goods and fabrics shop on ulica Ogrodowa) was also brought up in Reb Józef's house. She married Reb Zvi [Herszlik] Koplewicz, who was a Torah scholar and a chassid. He died in his prime, leaving a widow and six children. She took the management of the business upon herself and, with her great capability and diligence, was able to turn it into a successful enterprise. Her three sons, [Rachmiel] Alter, Icyk and Izrael were known in town as handsome and talented lads. Of her three daughters, only one, Zusza, survived the camps in Germany. She was able to emigrate to Israel, where she died following a fatal illness.
To the magnificent Dziubas family, we must add another outstanding figure, Reb Abram Icyk Dziubas zl. He was a prolific writer of extraordinary talents. This is what his brother Reb Izrael Dziubas from Jerusalem writes of him:
Reb Abram Icyk Dziubas zl
Reb Abram Icyk Dziubas, the son of Reb Dawid Majer (the famous Reb Józef Dziubas' younger brother) and his wife Fajgla [Hinda, née Rozencwajg], was born in 5645 . When he was just ten, he was already studying Talmud with Toisfes and it was predicted that he would become a young prodigy. He wrote his first book Milin Chadtin [Aramaic; New Words] when he was about fifteen. After about a year, a second appeared Milin Yakirin [Arc.; Treasured Words]. When he was eighteen, he published Dgan Bochurim [Grain of Youth] and, after a year, another Zichron Avruhom [Memory of Abraham]. In 5665 , following the death of the Gerer Rebbe, the Sfas Emes, he published a eulogy to him in the form of a book entitled Hesped Mar [Bitter Mourning], and another book that same year Pnei Yitzchok [Face of Isaac]. In 5680 , he published a Passover Haggadah with his own commentaries, entitled Gvuras Yitzchok [The Might of Isaac] and, after two years, in 5682 , he compiled the book Shileshim Drushim [Threefold Sermons].
It should be noted that all his books received the approbation of great Torah authorities in his generation, who valued his writings highly. His Torah study and bookwriting were not a spade with which to dig for him. During this time, he was also involved in commerce and manufacturing, from which he eked out a living. In 5685 , he emigrated to Palestine, but did not manage well there. In his book Meyakirei Yerushalaim [From Jerusalem's Cherished Ones], which contains legends and discourses from the Jerusalem Talmud etc., which he gathered and also interpreted, the author writes in his preface: This is already the tenth book that I've published in thirty years (the book was printed in Piotrków, at the J. Cederbaum press), and he recounts that in the year HFRT (5685) :
Many people ascended to the Land of Israel, lost their property and returned and I, too, was one of them. I had come and lost my money, and so descended into Netherland. There, I came to Rotterdam, where I was pleased to settle. And God gave me bread to eat (and there is no bread but Torah) and during my stay there, I completed several works I had started in Poland, and also [wrote] a second volume to my book Dgan Bochurim, and my commentaries Be'er Yitzchok [Well of Isaac] on Igeres Raban Yochanan Ben Zakai and, with the aid of Mr. S. Hirszel, the manager of the library at the University of Amsterdam, I was able to print this current book, as well as the book Meyakirei Yerushalaim, in three volumes, six years afterwards.
In Holland, too, he found no satisfaction, for lack of worldclass libraries in which to search for treasures. He therefore moved to England in 5695  and settled in Ramsgate, next to Montefiore College. He spent day and night in the college's library. He deciphered old manuscripts and published them, among them being the book Ha'Mabit [The Gazer], by one of the ancient authors. There, he compiled his work Milin DeRabonon MeTalmud Yerushalmi [Words of the Rabbis from the Jerusalem Talmud]. Eight years later, in 5703 , he published in London the Sefer Ho'Asufos [Book of Collections], which was composed by Rabbi Elijah ben Isaac of Carcassonne, a disciple of Rabbi Eleazar of Worms (author of Sefer Ha'Rokeach [Book of the Perfumer]), at the end of the fifth millennium from the creation of the world [viz. first half of the 13th century]. The book contains Halachic rulings of all kinds, document templates, precious segments from ancient books, good words from the Rishonim, [Hebrew] vowels, cantillation and grammar, and a long poem by Rabeinu Tam [French Tosafist, 11001171].
[In the title page, he writes:]
This book has been transcribed for the first time from a very old manuscript, the only remaining copy in the world, which is now kept at the Ohel Moshe VeYehudit Montefiore yeshivah in Ramsgate, and is hereby published with annotations and comments entitled Beis Avrohom Yitzchok (Beis Avi) [House of Abraham Isaac; House of my Father (acronym)], by the humble Avrohom Yitzchok son of Our Teacher, Rabbi Dawid Majer zl Dziubas. Printed by J. Grodsky, 129131 Cavell St., East London.
Reb Abram Icyk Dziubas zl died in England in 5707 .
Three members of the Rotenberg family settled in Częstochowa, upon which they left their mark. Reb Aron Eliasz Rotenberg, who was called Number One, his sister, the wife of the Rebbe of Pilica, and her son Reb Aron Eliasz Alfasi [Alfus], who was called Number Two.
The Rotenberg family has one of the most prestigious pedigrees in Poland, tracing their lineage back to [the Tosafist] Rabbi Meir ben Baruch of Rothenburg, the greatest German Rabbi and [one of] the fathers of Halacha.
The Rebbe Reb Icchok Majer Alter of Ger, the Chidushei Ha'Rim, also belonged to this family. His brother, Reb Aron Eliasz Rotenberg was the progenitor of the Częstochowa Rotenberg family.
The family was also related to Reb Hersz Tomaszówer, the renowned faithful servant of Rebbe Mendele of Kock ztzl and of Rabbi Menachem Ze'ev ztzl, the Rabbi of Kock.
Reb Aron Eliasz Rotenberg, Number One as he was called in Częstochowa, was born in 5635 [1875 (in Kock)] to his father Nechemie Rotenberg. He was a follower of Rebbe Aryeh Leib of Ger, the Sfas Emes, who held him in great esteem for his bright personality and their kinship.
Reb Aron Eliasz once recounted that, as a supervisor over the butchers in Częstochowa. he saw things that were not to his liking. He travelled to the Sfas Emes to ask his approval that he relinquish his position, but the Sfas Emes refused to approve his resignation.
The son of the Sfas Emes, Rebbe Awrum Mordche of Ger ztzl, held him in great esteem, and his successor, the current Gerer Rebbe, Rebbe Yisruel, once remarked of Reb Aron Eliasz, There are no longer Jews like him, he was a remnant of past generations.
He was a studious and brilliant Torah scholar but, at the same time, humble and retiring. Additionally, he was literally a living encyclopaedia in genealogical matters. Any Częstochowa Jew who came to him could hear from him about the genealogy of his forefathers.
He always had an outstandingly bright countenance. Sadness was never seen in his face. Although his financial situation was never the best, he always laughed and smiled.
When he emigrated to Palestine in 5696 , he became a beacon for the Częstochowa townspeople [living there]. He visited all of them and remained in close and warm contact with them all.
At the Gerer shtiebel, he served as a sort of rabbi and Halachic authority. He was mild in his speech and studies, quiet and humble, a truly extraordinary character. He also spent his very last day in study. He studied at the shtiebel until ten o'clock at night, returned home and died! [Hillel used to say: be of the disciples of] Aaron, loving peace and pursuing peace, loving mankind and drawing them close to the Torah [Avot, Ch.1, mishna 12], defines Reb Aron Eliasz Rotenberg's personality.
(His son Nechemie and his daughter Sura survived the Holocaust.) He passed away in Nisan 5710 [MarchApril 1950] in TelAviv.
His sister Chaja Itta, the Rebbetzin of Pilica, was his elder. She was born in 5625 . She was orphaned in childhood and was brought up in the house of the Sfas Emes. She was a household member of the Gerer Rebbes.
In 5644 , she married Rabbi Abram Alfasi [Alfus], Head of Court at Drzewica, Opoczno County (Radom region), and became known as the Rebbetzin of Drzewica, after her husband. She was highly respected at [the Chassidic court of] Ger, and no preparations were made for any celebratory events in the [Rebbes'] family, until the Rebbetzin of Drzewica had arrived. She was also famous for her activeness and, literally, all the town's poor ate all their meals at her table.
Following the death of her husband in 5672 , she married Rebbe Pinchas Menachem Eluzor Justman, the Rebbe of Pilica, and she moved to Częstochowa, to the Pilicer Rebbe's fine and famous building.
In Częstochowa, too, she headed the activities of charity and also acted as a midwife, free of charge, of course.
(She passed away on 20th Iyyar 5690 [18th May 1930] and her tombstone is intact to this day. The horrendous Holocaust left it undamaged.
All her many children and grandchildren perished in the Holocaust, except for her soninlaw Rabbi Nathan Dov [sic.; David] Ha'Cohen Liebermann, who is now the Chief Rabbi of Regensburg, and his children, and her son Reb Izrael Alfasi zl, who made Aliyah back in 5685  and was among the country's first industrialists and one of the first [settlers] of BneiBrak.
Of all her children, the only one who remained in Częstochowa was Reb Aron Eliasz Alfasi who, as I already mentioned, was called Reb Aron Eliasz Number Two in town, to differentiate him from his uncle Reb Aron Eliasz Rotenberg zl of whom I have written above. He, too, was one of the select Gerer Chassidim in our city. He perished with his entire family in the Holocaust. May God avenge his blood.)
One of the oldest and most deeplyrooted families in Częstochowa for generations was the Gotlib family (from which also the Wargoń family sprouted forth), whose forefathers were noted for their Torah study and Chassidism.
They were descended from famous rabbis, who propagated the Ba'al Shem Tov's Chassidism in Poland. This glorious dynasty spanned five generations in our city, until the Holocaust. They were Reb Isuchor Berisz Gotlib zl, his son Reb Lewi Icyk zl, his son Reb Jakub Elchunon zl, Reb Jakub Elchunon's soninlaw Reb Józef Szaja Wargoń zl and his son Reb Lewi Icyk hyd.
The head of the family was Reb Lewi Icyk, son of Reb Isuchor Berisz Gotlib, who lived in Częstochowa and is buried in the city's Old Cemetery.
Reb Isuchor Berisz and his brother, the prodigy Rabbi Abram Elchunon, Head of Court at Połaniec and author of Birkas Avruhom [Abraham's Blessing], had the honour to look upon the countenance of that righteous man and lover of [the People of] Israel, Rebbe Lewi Icchok of Berdyczów ztzl, as is written in the foreword to his book Birkas Avruhom. [Rabbi Abram Elchunon] was [also] a friend of the Rebbe Reb Jakub Icchok Horowicz ztzl, the Seer of Lublin.
Reb Lewi Icyk's wife, Ruchel, was the daughter of the rabbi Reb Nechemie, the son of the tzadik Rebbe Duwid'l Biderman ztzl, who was known as Reb Duwid'l Lelówer and the sister of the Rebbe Reb Janke'le of Opatów. Reb Lewi Icyk's son was Reb Jakub Elchunon, whom people called Reb Chuna Reb Lewi's, who was one of the most prominent Chassidim and among the founders of the Szydłowiec shtiebel (named for Reb Majer Duwid Mordche, the Rebbe of Szydłowiec, who was the son of the aforementioned Reb Janke'le of Opatów, and a follower of the Tiferes Shloime of Radomsko).
The sons of Reb Jakub Elchunon (Reb Chuna for short) were Duwid Isuchor the shoichet, one of the most senior ritual slaughterers in Częstochowa, and one of the oldest Radomsko Chassidim there. Mojsze Nechemie and Reb Szlojme Majer (the shoichet at Czeladź). His soninlaw was Reb Józef Szaja Wargoń.
The sons of Reb Duwid Isuchor the shoichet were Reb Mendel Szlojme (the father of Abram, Jakub, Icyk Gotlib and their sister Dorka, who all managed to emigrate to the Land [of Israel]), and Reb Nechemie the shoichet, who was murdered by Polish assassins in a pogrom on 27th May 1919.
As mentioned above Wargoń family emerged from this family.
[My] grandfather Reb Józef Szaja Wargoń (a descendant of the famous Reb Szlojme Wargoń of Włoszczowa) was one of Częstochowa's most respected merchants. He owned two manufactured goods shops, in the Nowy Rynek and in the alleyway of the Stary Rynek. [He was] one of the most loyal and devoted followers of the Radomsko Rebbe (the Chesed Le'Avruhom). He led the morning prayer services on the High Holidays and blew the shofar on Rosh Hashanah, where the Rebbe prayed, and was also part of the Rebbe's entourage on his visits to the Rebbe Reb Avruhom, the Maggid of Turisk ztzl.
My grandfather had four sons Reb Szlojme, Reb SzmulLeib, Reb Zvi Herszel and my uncle Reb Lewi Icyk, who was noted for his exalted attributes. He gained renown as a young prodigy and an extremely apt scholar. He was a select pupil of Rabbi Mojsze Aron Ha'Levi, the Rabbi of Pacanów and author of Ner La'Muor [A Candle for Lighting].
My uncle, Reb Lewi Icyk, was famous for his dedication to public needs and especially for his activism for the Keser Torah yeshivah, founded by the Radomsko Rebbe. (He died the death of martyrs and pure ones, through the troops of Hitler, may his names be honoured, together with the members of his congregation.)
Of his offspring, three daughters were saved SzyfraStefa, Ruchel and Rajzla were able to make Aliyah and settle in Israel.
Reb Duwid Shoichet was the son of Reb JakubChuna, whom his acquaintances called Reb Chune Reb Lewi's (the greatgrandson of Rebbe Duwid of Lelów ztzl), and the soninlaw of the shoichet Reb Mojsze Kaufman.
Our Reb Duwid did not see his profession the slaughter of animals just as a source of income, but as a sacred service, and he would say the blessing Al Ha'Shechita [Regarding the Slaughter] with true awe and passion.
He dedicated all his free time to Torah study and contemplation on books on Chassidism and, even at the abattoir or the slaughterhouse for poultry, there was always an open book in front of him, which he studied between slaughters, to fulfil the precept Thou shalt meditate therein day and night [Joshua 1:8].
He was a Radomsko chassid and was, for many years, gabay of the Radomsko shtiebel, as well as one of the prayerleaders on the High Holidays, other holidays, and Saturdays during the year.
To the very year of his death, he was honoured with taking the Torah scrolls out of the Holy Ark before the Kol Nidrei prayer and with saying the verse Light is sown for the righteous, and gladness for the upright in heart [Psalm 97:11], which he rendered with great passion and reverence.
On his visits to Częstochowa, the Radomsko Rebbe stayed at Reb Duwid Shoichet's house, which would fill with the multitude of Chassidim who thronged to the Rebbe from the local population and the entire vicinity.
He died, at the age of 72, on the eve of 1st Shvat 5684 [6th Jananuary 1924]. His casket was brought to the Radomsko shtiebel and he was warmly eulogised by the Rebbe Reb Fajwisz zl, who told of his good deeds and his conduct in heavenly and earthly affairs.
His wife Gitla lived long after his death and died at an advanced age in 5697 .
Reb Duwid Shoichet's eldest son was born in Częstochowa in 5630 (1870). In his youth, he studied in different cheders and, above all, with Reb Chaim ZviHersz Berkowicz zl, who was one of the distinguished scholars of his generation, an outstanding Talmudic and Halachic expert. Reb Menachem Szlojme was among his pupils until he married this same teacher's daughter, Perla.
He, too, was a Radomsko chassid and travelled to his Rebbe every Rosh Hashanah, taking his young son with him, to educate him in the ways of Chassidism and piety.
These journeys were always carried out as a group, with the congregation of Chassidim making its way, merrily singing psalms and drinking Le'Chaim.
During his entire life, he always dedicated time to Torah study and was careful to attend public prayers all days of the week.
On Yom Kippur in 5695 , he prayed and fasted as usual at the Radomsko shtiebel. Upon returning home, he performed Havdalah, as is the custom, and when he sat at table to break his fast, he suffered a brain hemorrhage, which also caused partial paralysis. All the physicians' efforts were to no avail and he passed away at the close of the second day of Sukkos, being just 64 years of age.
He left four sons and three daughters. Three of his sons and one daughter (besides his wife Perla) emigrated to Palestine with their families. (The rest were killed together with their families by Hitler's troops.)
His wife Perla was noted for her good disposition, and was also a helpmate for him [Genesis 2:18] in earning their livelihood. She acted extensively for the city's poor and provided for several families, giving of her own bread and also by contributions for the needy from other philanthropists.
She made Aliyah with her youngest son Icek [Chuna] in 1936.
She died at a ripe old age on 24th Sivan 5708 [1st July 1948] and was laid to eternal rest at the Nahalat Yitzchak Cemetery.
In the historical material on Jewish Częstochowa, we often find details of the prolific deeds of the Kohn, Markusfeld Gincburg [and] Landau families. These names are mentioned in connection to activities in the communal or financial arenas. In the field of cultural and philanthropic good deeds, the Markusfeld family is particularly mentioned. In the municipal arena, it was the Kohns. Regarding the city's economic development, in addition to these names, the Gincburg and Landau families are also mentioned.
[All] these names were tightly interconnected, as they shared common ancestors. Their pedigree chart began from Józef Kohn, Bernard Kohn's father.
Of Bernard (Ber) Kohn we know that he was the first Jewish City Council member with full rights, as early as 1862, and that he greatly advanced the harmonious cooperation between the Jewish and Gentile Częstochowa populations.
Following the great fire of 1862, in which a great part of the poorer Jewish townspeople was hit particularly hard, a Communal Committee of Jews and Poles was formed, which was headed by the local priest and the Chief Rabbi. The chairman of this committee was Bernard Kohn.
There is absolutely no doubt that the fact that Bernard Kohn had the honour of representing the Jewish population (which by then already numbered 3600 souls) as the chairman of the committee, and also as City Council member, together with Gentiles who had a high worldly education and a variety of ambitions in their communal endeavours, was a result of his particular aptitude for becoming a respected figure in Jewish public life.
Bernard Kohn's financial standing was also favourable, as the owner of a mill, which was later turned into the wellknown paper factory. He had both familial and mercantile ties to the respected Częstochowa families mentioned above the Markusfeld, Gincburg and Landau families, which were so strongly connected to Częstochowa where, together they lived, and together they created and greatly developed various branches of industry, which brought the city prosperity, such as the Warta paper factory, the wallpaper factory, etc.
Although these families, during a certain period, had assimilationist views, none of them ever actually left the Jewish People (only one such occasion befell these closeknit families, actually in the last generation when, on the eve of Hitler's destruction, one of them converted to Christianity together with his wife.)
Ludwig Kohn received a general, worldly education. He specialised in economics, which he studied at the institute in Breslau (later Wrocław), and he had also mastered several European languages.
Ludwig married the daughter of Mosek Fajnkind, Karolina [Ruchla] (at the time, Mosek Fajnkind was chairman of the largest Kehilla in Poland that of Warsaw). Karolina Kohn, who settled with her husband in Częstochowa after their wedding, was very influential in making the Kohn family one of the most exemplary Jewish families in Częstochowa.
Ludwig Kohn's home became a model for many other Jewish families, with its modest lifestyle and simplicity. Setting their modest dwelling inside the mill (later, a paper factory) on ul. Krakowska, they made it literally a house open to all. They maintained this humble and orderly abode on the factory's premises and they also surrounded themselves with Jewish workers, whom they employed for life. The Kohn family also saw to it that the children of their employees should receive a modern, worldly education, and many of them actually achieved high levels in general, communal life. Besides their material aid, which they generously proffered to all Jewish communal institutions, Ludwig Kohn and his wife Karolina also took an active part in the essential work [done] for those institutions which were in beat with the spirit of that era.
Ludwig Kohn died in 1919 at the age of 77. His wife lived on for another sixteen years and died in 1935, at the age of 93. After her husband's death, Karolina Kohn held the family together. To the last day of her life, her exemplary home was the central point for the entire Kohn family.
Ludwig and Karolina Kohn had two daughters and three sons. The eldest daughter, Mela, was wed to the renowned medical doctor, Gustaw Hajman (died in 1951, in Łódź). The second daughter, Tekla, married Maurycy Sprecher, the son of an important family from Lwów (both perished in the Holocaust). These two sonsinlaw were not involved in the Kohn family's business Hajman practised as a physician and Sprecher became a great industrialist in Austria. But the three sons, Leopold, Alfred and Maurycy participated quite actively and expanded their financial enterprises very successfully.
Leopold, the eldest of the brothers, was born in 1867 (he died in the ghetto in 1942). He studied philosophy and received a doctorate. He married Noemi Bakerman, the daughter of the very wealthy and famous philanthropist Piotr Bakerman from Radom.
Leopold was the equal of his cousin Henryk Markusfeld (the renowned philanthropist) equal in the field of Jewish communal life. Although he had no specific ambitions in general, his great financial capacities allowed him to express one certain ambition to make his life's work, the paper factory, into one of the largest paper factories in Poland. Dr Leopold Kohn was active for years as an elected member of the administration of the General Polish Industrial Union, as well as in the other deciding factors of the Polish Paper Syndicate.
After the death of his cousin Herman Gincburg, he was also chosen as president of Warta, a position he retained until Hitler's destruction. In the last years of his life, he was also one of the most active members of the B'nai B'rith [Children of the Covenant] lodge of Kraków.
Of Dr Leopold Kohn's two daughters, Janina, a widow who was married to Dr Juliusz Schleicher, a son of Dr Filip [Peisach] Schleicher, the Deputy Mayor of Lwów, one of the leading figures of Galician Jewry, lives in Israel.
Although he [L. Kohn] held extremely assimilationist views, his ideology changed at the end of his life and he dedicated himself to the work of building the Land of Israel. He was among the [Jewish] Agency's most active nonZionist members in Poland.
The engineer Alfred Kohn, the family's third brother, also took an active part in the financial undertakings of the Kohn family, thanks to his wife Adela (née Frenkiel), who was brought up in Kiev, in a family of largescale, communal activists. Even before the First World War, he became involved in the local communal work. Once Alfred and Adela Kohn had settled in Częstochowa, their home became a central point for the Zionist cause.
Adela was the founder and an active member of WIZO the Women's Zionist Organisation [in Częstochowa].
JewishGen, Inc. makes no representations regarding the accuracy of
the translation. The reader may wish to refer to the original material
JewishGen is not responsible for inaccuracies or omissions in the original work and cannot rewrite or edit the text to correct inaccuracies and/or omissions.
Our mission is to produce a translation of the original work and we cannot verify the accuracy of statements or alter facts cited.
Czestochowa, Poland Yizkor Book Project JewishGen Home Page
Copyright © 1999-2023 by JewishGen, Inc.
Updated 14 Apr 2020 by JH