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Localities around Częstochowa

 

[Pages 517-524]

Krzepice and the Surrounding Area

5058' 1844'

The town was founded in 1964 [sic 1364] by the Polish King Casimir [III] The Great [Kazimierz III Wielki], on the banks of the [Liswarta, a tributary of the] river Warta. The town gained fame throughout the region for its blacksmithing and, at the beginning of the 17th century, cannons, cannon–balls, machines and also metal wire (which was made in a large factory) were produced in the town's workshops.

In 1765, a synagogue was established in the Kuźniczka area (one kilometre from Krzepice), in whose Holy Ark were kept Torah scrolls from generations upon generations. The scrolls were of varying sizes, bound with sashes and covered with embroidered ornamental mantles. Prayer services were only held in this synagogue on Shabbes and holidays.

Among the public figures and providers of Krzepice, Reb Abram Lejbuś, son of Reb Jakób Leslau (5595–5665) [sic 5598–5669[1]], stood out. He was the owner of an iron foundry in Kuźniczka and he managed all the town's affairs.

Reb Leibisz, “The Shoichet from Wieluń”, had a pleasant voice and served as cantor at the synagogue, with several worshipers alongside him to accompany the singing. The shoichet, Reb Hersz Mojsze [Gerszlik Mosek] Filip, who was the synagogue's last prayer–leader, also taught boys the Talmud.

During the First World War, the Germans damaged the synagogue and turned it into stables for horses. Only in the years of the Polish [State] were lessons taught by the shoichet and the last rabbi, Reb Dawid Szlojme Bomac, who was a great–grandson of the prodigy Rabbi Ze'ev [Wolf] Chaim [Bomac] and a descendant of the Mogen Avrohom[2].

There was also a Y.L. Perec Library in town.

In 1847, 1,954 [sic 1054] Jews lived in Krzepice and, in 1860, [there were] 1,069, who were engaged partly in agriculture, in craftsmanship and in commerce. The number of Jews in 1880 increased to 1,456 but, in 1897, it dropped to 1,395.

On 7th Tamuz 5702 (22nd June 1942), the local Jews, as well as those of Kłobuck and most of the surrounding villages, were assembled at the Krzepice synagogue and were sent to Auschwitz.


Zhurik
[Żarki]

5038' 1923'

Located between Częstochowa and Zawiercie, [Żarki] also served as a centre for a number of smaller towns around it – Kurzelów, Janów, Złoty Potok and Lelów. The majority of Żarki's residents were Jewish.

There were four cemeteries in the town and, contained within them, were tombstones more than two–hundred years old. There was a special synagogue there called “The Little Synagogue”, which was also known as “The German Synagogue”, due to the fact that the worshipers there conducted business with the Germans and were in constant contact [with them]. The Large Synagogue, which had been built on the ruins of the Old Synagogue that had burned down, was a spacious, beautiful building, decorated with paintings.

Next to the synagogue stood an old edifice – the study–hall. Besides that, the town also had shtieblech of Ger, Aleksander, Skierniewice, Radomsko, Trisk and Brzeziny Chassidim, which served the 3,000–strong Jewish community.

There were nine families of “holy civil servants” in the town. [First,] the local rabbi, Rabbi Symcha Szwarcberg, [who was] the grandson of the town's [former] Head of Court, Rabbi Yehosua'le [Szyja] son of Reb Józef Szwarcberg – author of five books: Avnei Yehoshua, Beis Y., Divrei Y., Chomer Y.[3] [and] a book of innovations on the Ritvu[4]. Reb Symcha'le was only appointed as a halachic authority, but [actually] served as rabbi.

Rebbe Aron–Duwid'l Twerski of Trisk was appointed Rebbe of Żarki and attained a large following. From there, he moved to Częstochowa.

The town also had three ritual slaughterers, the cantor at the Large Synagogue, the synagogue warden, the study–hall warden and Leibisz the grave–digger.

There were active institutions and organisations in the town, such as a “Talmud Torah” [viz. free cheder for the poor] [and institutions for the] support of orphans, clothing for the needy, visiting the sick, aid to poor brides [and] “Supporter of the Fallen” [charity fund].

The cheeders of renown were those of the [following] melamdim: Szaja Piski [sic Panski?], small children; Jankel Dancyger; Abram Frank's “Progressive Cheder”; Mendel Melamed taught Pentateuch and Talmud; Josel Glotzer [of Glatz (Kłodzko)?] taught Pentateuch and Talmud, as well as writing in Yiddish and German and there were also four more Talmud teachers: Chaim'l Kaminker[5], Szlojmele Kon, Jossele Pardes [and] Icek Leizerle's [viz. son of Leizerle]. The town's [most] excellent prayer leaders were: Old Mojsze'l Kon, Rubin Shoichet and his son Chaskiel, Icek Leizerle's, Izrael Studenberg, Chaim'l Slonimski [sic Slomnicki], Berisz Szlifka, Icyk Mendel Kohlenhandler[6] [and] Alter Blimale's.

Rebbe Icchok of Warka, the founder of the Warka dynasty of tzaddikim, was born in Żarki.

On the anniversary of the death of Reb Duwid'l of Lelów (7th Shvat), the Żarki study–hall served as a gathering–place for those visiting his tomb. From there, a multitude of men and women would leave in a procession to prostrate themselves[7] on his grave.

Abraham Józef Sztybel, the great Maecenas [i.e. patron] of Hebrew literature, was [also] born in Żarki, where he established a large library in his wife's name – Zysel–Malka – which contained thousands of volumes.

The [political] parties in the town were “Zionist Union,” Ha'Chalutz [and] Ha'Shomer Ha'Tzair, as well as the “Maccabi” sports organisation.

Among the town's opulent were Reb Szlomke, son of Reb Mojsze Aron Tenenbaum, an influential person who was known for his acts of charity and who was popular with the Christians also. He was held in such esteem, that they named him Chief (Komendant) of the Fire Brigade.


Kłobuck

5054' 1856'

Kłobuck is one of the oldest towns in Poland. In 1935, the town celebrated its 800th anniversary. It is unknown at what point Jewish settlement began there, but there was an old cemetery in Kłobuck in which they had not buried the deceased for a long time, to which the town elders would go on the 9th of Av and where they would point out an old tomb as being that of Kłobuck's first rabbi – Rabbi Izrael Szyja Lipszyc[8] ztz”l.

Following his death, the position of rabbi was filled by the renowned Chassidic tzadik Reb Jankele Rabinowicz ztz”l, who was considered a miracle–worker and, thanks to his good name, the town also gained fame. This was Reb Jankele Rabinowicz, the son of the Chessed Le'Avruhom and grandson of the Tiferes Shloime of Radomsko. He published a book entitled Emes Le'Yankev [“Truth to Jacob”] and died, in his prime, on 21st Iyyar 5662 [28th May 1902]. Many miraculous tales[9] were told of him in the town. The town's last rabbi, who perished in the Holocaust, was Reb Icchok Henech Goldberg, a grandson of the Chidyshei Ha'Rim [of Ger].

The first Jews to settle in Kłobuck arrived from Działoszyn. The age of the synagogues and study–halls destroyed by the Germans is unknown. The synagogue had stood for about eighty years, but it had been preceded by the study–halls. The Kłobuck kehilla existed for about two–hundred years and, to it, were affiliated the Jewish residents of the neighbouring villages – Miedzno, Kocin, Grabówka, Nowa Wieś, Ostrowy, Neudorf[10], Walenczów, Łobodno, Złochowice, Libidza, Wręczyca and Kamyk.

In 1808, Kłobuck was still annexed to the Częstochowa kehilla.

At the synagogue, the prayer–leaders were Reb Dawid Hersz [Dawidowicz] and Reb Mojsze Zander – both schoichtim. The town also produced the “young prodigy of Kłobuck”, Reb Abram Naftuli Goldberg, who was born in 1896. He was the author of a book of innovations and homiletical interpretations entitled Ma'ase Zais [“Act of Olive”] (5693) [1933].

On Kłobuck's Synagogue Street there lived the Chassidic tzadik Reb Jankele Rabinowicz and, on Shabbosim and holidays, many Chassidim were with him. They came from afar to hear the Radomsko songs of the Tiferes Shloime. On that same street, there were also the Ger and Aleksander shtieblech and the Charity Fund. Other institutions in the town included Bikur Cholim [Visiting the Sick], Chayei Odom [(Society for) Human Life], with its own shtiebel, and Chevras Bucherim [Society of Bachelors (for Torah study)]. There was also a Y.L. Perec Library and a dramatic circle.

[Political] parties in the town included Ha'Mizrachi, Tzeirei Ha' Mizrachi; Agudas Yisroel – with a Beis Yaakov school and Yesodei Ha'Torah [Foundations of T. (a cheder)], United, Gordonia and Betar.

In 1856, there were only 444 Jews in Kłobuck, in 1897 – 1,027 and, in 1923, their number grew to 1,600.


Lelów

5041' 1937'

Lelów is one of the oldest towns in Poland. It is located on a hilltop, surrounded by swamps and mud from which springs gush forth in several spots. The town was built on the banks of the Białka River, on the road [from Częstochowa to] Jędrzejów, a distance of two miles from Szczekociny[11]. Already, by the 13th century, Lelów was considered a very ancient town and it is mentioned in the documents as “Old Lelów”. This town has a very rich history in the annals of Poland.

In the pre–war[12] Kingdom of Poland, Lelów was a county town in the Krakowskie Województwo [Kraków Province]. In a special census which was conducted amongst the Jews of the Krakowskie Województwo in 1765, 3,415 Jews were found in Lelów County, with six kehillas: Lelów, Nakło, Janów, Pilica, Szczekociny and Żarki.

The Lelów community numbered 539 Jews, who had always enjoyed the rights of freeman burghers and felt as if they were in their own element. Six fairs took place in the town every year and, every week, there was a market–day, which served as a source of income for the Jews.

In 1846, there were 449 Christians in Lelów and 650 Jews, who earned their livelihoods from farming and small–scale commerce while, in 1856, Lelów had 328 Christians and 428 Jews. In the census which was conducted in 1897, there were already 729 Jews within a general population of 1,236 people. This town gained a reputation due to Reb Duwid'l of Lelów, who is famous in the Chassidic world for his humble ways. He would make souls for Chassidism and who discovered, among others, Reb Icchok Kalisz – the [future] Rebbe of Warka – and Dr Chaim Dawid Bernhard[13] of Piotrków. Reb Duwid (lived between 5506–5574 [1746–1814]), the son of Reb Szlojme Zvi, was born in the village Biała next to Lelów, and was a disciple of Rebbe Elimelech of Leżajsk and Rebbe Jakow Icchok, the “Seer” of Lublin. Reb Duwid'l did not set up a Chassidic court like the other Rebbes of his day but, instead, greatly influenced individuals with his own personality. His sayings are spread throughout Chassidic literature. He had a little shop in town, from which he drew his meagre livelihood and he had a rule – never to sell in one day more than he required for that day's sustenance.

Rebbe Duwid's son, Rebbe Mojsze of Lelów, was also named for the town. He was born in 5535 [1776] and, like his father, was literally willing to risk his life for the love of Jews. At the end of his days, he ascended to the Land of Israel and died in Jerusalem. He left after him a dynasty of tzaddikim of the surname Biderman – both in Israel and in Poland.


Kamyk

5055' 1902'

Kamyk was the smallest of all the towns around Częstochowa, but its history is known. The town is on the banks of the Trzopka River, at a distance of 11 verst[14] from Częstochowa. The Jewish quarter in Kamyk was separated from the Christian one by flowing water. It is unknown as to who planned this division but, in order that suspicion should not fall on the Jews of Kamyk of having made a “ghetto” for the Gentiles, they moved all religious services, such as the synagogue, the rabbi's house, the mikvah and the shames to the Christian quarter.

About a hundred Jewish families lived in Kamyk, the majority of whom were cattle dealers and butchers. They almost all had plots of soil which yielded potatoes, corn and wheat, which served as an additional source of income. The tanning business also flourished amongst the Jews of Kamyk, among other enterprises. A Jewish “nobleman” named Zandsztajn lived in Kamyk. He controlled the town, in every way like a Polish nobleman – with a court and a palace, a flower garden, fruit trees surrounding the palace, fields of grain and pastures, woodland, domestic animals, a flour mill, and a sawmill.

Rabbi Zelinger lived in Kamyk lived back during the Russian reign [of Poland]. He was a native of Wolbrom and the son of the religious barber, Rubin Zelinger of Wolbrom. When he died, his son served in his place and, from him, the rabbinical position passed on to his son, who perished in the Holocaust together with the entire community. (Either the son or the grandson of the last rabbi lives in Rishon LeZion.) The last Rabbi of Kamyk was the son–in–law of Rabbi Izrael Szyja Lipszyc of Kłobuck.

The Chevras Tehilim [“Psalms Society”] in Kamyk would hold “inauguration” festivities, having completed [the writing of] several Torah scrolls, as well as [holding] Melave Malka [banquets at the close of Shabbes]. On Simchas Torah, the local Jews would go out on processions with torches, dancing and music.

At a later period, a youth circle called “Chevras Bucherim” was established in the town, which organised its separate prayer–group with its own Torah scroll. This group's Simchas Torah celebrations surpassed those of the Chevras Tehilim and thus a sort of competition arose in the town between these two societies. However, the youth group outshone the first group in every way.

Following the First World War, when the situation in town was not brilliant, public institutions were opened with the aid of Jews from America. These included a children's soup–kitchen (where they received several daily meals) and a Y.L. Perec day–care centre. The first teacher to work there was Fajgele Berliner, who elevated the institution to a high level.

In 1882, the population of Kamyk and the vicinity was 6,344, among whom 1,437 were Jewish. According to the census of 1897, the population of Kamyk was only 885 people, of whom 368 were Jews.


Janów

5044' 1927'

During the reign of the Kingdom of Poland, Janów belonged to the Kraków Province. It is located in a hilly region, by the route from Szczekociny to Częstochowa, three miles from Żarki. The town was founded in the 17th century by Jan Aleksander Koniecpolski. In 1765, Janów and Częstochowa had 623 Jews. In 1863, there were 512 Christians and 448 Jews in Janów, the majority of whom were engaged in farming and small–scale commerce. Six fairs were held in the town each year.

The Janów kehilla far preceded that of Częstochowa and, in the second half of the 18th century, the Częstochowa Jews would transport their deceased to be buried at the Janów kehilla's cemetery. Częstochowa was annexed to Janów and its kehilla waged a prolonged war against its hegemony which, by its own nature, opposed the efforts of the Częstochowa community to become an independent kehilla. The first dispute between the kehillas of Janów and Częstochowa emerged in 1808. Janów kehilla had once encompassed the kehillas of Działoszyn, Krzepice, Mstów, Cynków, Kużnica, Kłobuck, Łobodno and Miedzno.

In the summer of 1942, the Germans banished the Jews of Janów and Olsztyn and concentrated them in the Częstochowa ghetto.


Olsztyn

5045' 1916'

This was founded in 1488 by the Polish King Kazimierz [IV Andrzej] Jagiellończyk and it is located two miles from Żarki. [In the 14th century,] Casimir the Great [Kazimierz Wielki] had built himself a small castle there and it is surmised the locality was set up for German immigrants, who answered the call to come and settle in Poland. That is the origin of its Germanic name – “Holstein” – and of the concessions which the authorities granted them. The Jews, who were not numerous there, lived mainly from farming, [the same] as in a few other localities around it, where – in those days – agriculture was the main occupation of the Jews. In 1856, 518 Christians and 82 Jews lived there. In 1865, there were 535 Christians and 931 [sic?] Jews and, according to the census conducted in 1897, of a general population of 747 people, 140 were Jewish.

Olsztyn lay 21 verst from the Prussian border which, according to a Russian decree, was part of the “Pale of Settlement” in which Jews were not permitted to reside.

The same as with all the other Jews of the neighbouring towns, the Jews of Olsztyn, during the Nazi occupation, were imprisoned in the Częstochowa ghetto and, there, they perished in the same manner.

Translator's footnotes:

  1. Born on 30th December 1837, died on 12th October 1908. Source (tombstone): https://www.geni.com/people/%D7%90%D7%91%D7%A8%D7%94%D7%9D–Leslau/6000000004057530002 Return
  2. “Shield of Abraham,” by Rabbi Abraham Abel Gombiner, a famous 17th century Polish rabbi. Return
  3. Stones, House, Words, and Materials of Joshua, respectively. Return
  4. Also pronounced Ritvo or Ritva; acronym of Rabbi Yom Tov ben Abraham, a medieval Spanish rabbi and head of the Seville yeshive, famous for his commentaries on the Talmud. Return
  5. Although without quotation marks in the original, this is probably not his surname but a nickname meaning he originated from the Kaminka locality. Return
  6. No such surname is found in the records. Return
  7. Figuratively speaking. Return
  8. This same account appears also on page 11 of the Kłobuck yizkor book, Sefer Kłobuck, but, there, it is stated that the tomb was that of Reb Icyk'l, and that he was the first rabbi. Rabbi Szyja Izrael (and not Reb Izrael Szyja as mentioned here) appears there on page 14 as Kłobuck's second rabbi. Return
  9. See there, p.18–21, where several of these stories are recounted. Return
  10. Germanic name for the Nowa Wieś that is mentioned already in the list. See there, p.34. Return
  11. Lelów is 10 miles from Szczekociny. Return
  12. In the 14th century. Return
  13. Famous “repentant sinner” who was a physician and later came to be considered among the tzadikim of his generation. Return
  14. Obsolete Russian unit of length; 1 verst = 1.0668km. Return


[Pages 525-528]

Amstov (Emes–Tov) [Truly Good]
[Mstów]

5050' 1918'

M.Sh. Geshuri

The town of Mstów, which is fourteen kilometres from Częstochowa, is surrounded by mountains and crossed by the Warta Warta crosses it – which made it a holiday destination.

In total, 110 Jewish families lived in Mstów. Some earned their livelihoods from petty trade and others from carpentry, shoemaking and from taking cattle and fattened fowl to [sell in] Częstochowa. Despite all the work, the blessings were few and, usually, great poverty prevailed amongst the town's Jews and many families did not have enough bread to satisfy [themselves].

Nevertheless, they excelled in the traits of charity, goodwill, hospitality to guests, etc. As a result, beggars would come from afar to Mstów – especially for Shabbes – and not in vain did the famous tzadik Reb Duwid'l of Lelów ztz”l say of Mstów Jews that they were “Emes–Tov”, after which they no longer wrote its name Amstov [in Hebrew characters] with a Samech, but Emes–Tov [with a Tav]. Immeasurably great was their love for Jews [in general] and amongst themselves [in particular].

Followers of Ger, Radomsko, etc. prayed together in one study–hall and did not split up into separate groups – a very rare phenomenon in those times. There were many Torah scholars and students in the town and, despite their hard and bitter struggle to make a living, they gathered every evening to learn a lesson in Talmud with Toisfes [commentaries]. The lecturer was my deceased father z”l. Those who did not take active part in the lesson, sat and listened most attentively.

 

Cze2_525.jpg
The synagogue and study–hall where the writer H.D. Numberg studied

 

Mstów never had a Kehilla and election–wars and fraternal quarrels were unknown to us. We were not annexed to Częstochowa and were exempt from the [Kehila] tax, which was called “Etat” [Ger; budget].

 

Cze2_526.jpg
Rabbi Berisz Ajnchorn of Mstów

 

The town's rabbi, the rabbi and prodigy Reb Berisz Ajnchorn z”l, was proficient and sharp, learned and studious. He studied Torah for its own sake, day and night, and devoted all his energy to the management of the yeshivah, which was famed throughout all corners of Poland, Germany, Hungary and Czechia. The rabbi devoted himself to this yeshivah without wishing to receive remuneration. He was unfamiliar with the appearance of a coin [fig.]. He earned his livelihood mainly from the selling of yeast and cards for [shares in] ritually slaughtered meat. The existence of the yeshivah and its maintenance depended solely on the residents.

No collections were conducted but, instead, each homeowner donated one day [a week] to take in a guest and, as a native of the locality [myself], I bear testimony that many “homeowners” skimped on a taste of butter and a glass of milk from the mouths of their own children, that there should be enough for a yeshivah student who was eating eating with them that day.

Mstów had the following institutions: the Chevra Kadisha, a Charity Loans Fund [and] a Hostel for the Poor. There was also a magnificent synagogue, two study–halls (one on the yeshivah premises), a mikvah (which was managed by Reb Shabse Grinberg), a Beis Yaakov [school] (headed by the rabbi's wife) and the Szalom Asz Library.

 

[Political] Parties

Betar was founded by the brothers Nojech and Józef Szydłówski (now in Tel–Aviv). Ha'Tzohar [Revisionist Zionists] was founded by Jakób Kalman Bencelowicz (now in Tel–Aviv) and [there was also] Tzeirei Agudas Yisroel.

 

Personalities and Public Figures

Reb Shabse Grinberg z”l, whom people called Shepsil, was known as a loyal public activist and intercessor [with the authorities], who felt the pain of others. [Both] Jews and Christians came to him seeking counsel. Because he was astute and sharp–minded, he represented the townspeople, on a regular basis, at the Regional Council (“Rada Gmina”) and was, most often, elected through the votes of non–Jews – until the War in 1939.

Jakób Kalman Bencelowicz is dynamic man who shows initiative and a great philanthropist (now in Tel–Aviv).

Natan Federman, who was nicknamed Tan Dayan [Rabbinical Judge].

Binem Goldberg, the son–in–law of Heniek Wajnrajch, was an educated man and was nicknamed Heniek Kotok [?].

Pinkus Gryman was the permanent gabay[1].

Mordche Szydłówski was one of the town's rich men.

Mojsze Rozinski, Abram Mruwka, Icze Majer Kon, Izrail Juda Woznica, Izrail Juda Fuks and many others.

With the onset of the War in 1939, many refugees came to Mstów from around Łódź, especially from Aleksander (next to Łódź), and they found shelter in the town. We had no ghetto, but it was forbidden to leave the town limits and many were shot for the offence of going outside them.

In 1942, on the Eve of Sukkos, a transport to Radomsko was conducted and, from there, to Treblinka.

Translator's footnote:

  1. It is unclear whether he was the synagogue warden, a collector of charity money or both. Return


[Pages 527-530]

The “Twin Towns” of Pajęczno and Sulmierzyce

5109 1900' and 5111 1912'

Yehuda Kishon

The two small towns in the Częstochowa–Radomsko region – Pajęczno and Sulmierzyce – contained simple, dear and hearty Jews. They travelled to the markets and were sellers of geese. [They were] merchants and craftsmen, who toiled hard and bitter to make a living, but who lived respectably and married their children off comfortably. Sulmierzyce and Pajęczno were like twins holding hands. They travelled to one another's market–days, arranged marriages between each other, bought books for their libraries together and worked in unison in various cultural fields.

In Pajęczno, the shepherd [fig.] was the proud Jew Fajwisz Jabloński hy”d, whom even the non–Jews respected. He was the spokesman and leader of the shtetl's Zionist youth, in the spirit of Izaak Grinbaum's “Al Ha'Mishmar[1] [“On Guard”] faction.

Grinbaum's influence was felt in Sulmierzyce also. There, one of Fajwisz's relatives was active – Symcha Kuszynski hy”d, a gentle and dear, young man, who always had a smile on his lips and who projected kind–heartedness and good spirit. He could be found at all the important regional conferences and he was especially active for Keren Kayemeth Le'Israel.

Of all this, nothing has remained. It has all been tragically erased, drowned in a sea of blood and tears.

Translator's footnote:

  1. Early Radical Zionist faction in Poland. Return


[Pages 529-532]

Koniecpol

5047 1941'

Daniel Pagan (Chicago)

Koniecpol lies on the Pilica River and was [originally] designed as a suburb of Częstochowa. Koniecpol flour was a familiar commodity at the Częstochowa flour–market and Częstochowa supplied Koniecpol with all the products it required.

The population numbered about one–thousand families, half of whom were Jews who worked as craftsmen – tailors, cobblers – and also as traders.

Particularly well–known was the great copper factory, which belonged to Jewish owners Bonsztajn, Behm & Rotbard. This firm conducted business on a very large scale. It imported raw materials and produced copper sheets for the largest companies in Poland.

When the antisemitic threat spread throughout Poland, it was also very tangible in Koniecpol. However, incidents of brutality did not occur, as the Jewish youth had the awareness to organise a resistance.

In the Kehilla [Council] comprised a representation from the Zionist parties, Aguda, the Radomsko Chassidim and the craftsmen. Following the death of the town's rabbi, Rabbi A. Klajnplac z”l, he was replaced by Rabbi Uszer Borensztajn z”l. Among the [most] respected representatives were Reb Szaja Rozencwajg z”l, Reb Chaim Najfeld z”l, Reb Chaim Szlojme Sztal and Reb Józef Rubinsztajn. Of the Aleksander Chassidim, Reb Alter Szlojme Staszewski was very well–known. He and his wife were among the first victims of the Germans. From the Zionist Movement, the activity of the “Zionist Youth” was [the most] prominent. Oderberg, Horowicz, and Dudek Kartuz from Częstochowa often visited Koniecpol. The “Zionist Youth” Organisation also created a Jewish library.

Zionist activists, Dr Bram and Dr Mering, also visited often. The Revisionist Organisation, which was very active, was led by Mr Mordka Bulwik (now in Israel). The “TOZ” conducted was strongly active, with Mr Rozental z”l at its head, a respectable man with a warm Jewish heart.

The Jewish population was represented on the City Council with 50% of the delegates. The town's deputy mayor was a Jew – Reb Józef Rubinsztajn.

The delegates were divided thus – Zionist Organisation: Ojzer Wajngarten z”l, Anszel Fajgenblat (now in the United States) and Aron Dikman z”l as Councillors; Aguda: Nechemie Jachnowski and unaffiliated to any party was Abram Gruszka (now in Israel).

During the War, as soon as they had marched in on 2nd September 1939, the Germans began their horrors and murders against Jews. All the Jews of the town Płock were also herded into Koniecpol.

When in 1943 [sic], voices began to spread (from the testimony of non–Jews) regarding the transports and the mass–killings, the Jews could not believe this. They were unable to grasp that innocent people – men, women and children – could be taken and annihilated.

On 19th October 1942, the Germans encircled the town with machine–guns positions and, on the following day, all the Jews were led to the railway station, loaded onto carriages and sent away to Treblinka, where they were killed.

Only ten people survived the Holocaust. One of them, Dawid Gruszka, was murdered after the War by the Kielce pogromszcziki.

The remaining nine are Izrael Rozencwajg with two sisters, Chana and Rachel (living in Israel); Abram Dikman (in Israel); Don Fajgenblat with his wife Bronia (now in the United States); Abram Gruszka (in Israel) [and] two are unknown.

Thus, an entire Jewish community was annihilated and not even a minyan[1] has remained to say Kaddish. May these lines serve as a tombstone on the graves of the martyrs. Woe over those who are gone and are no longer found [Talmud Bavli, Sanhedrin 111a].

Translator's footnote:

  1. 10 Jewish males over 13 years of age which are required in order to hold public prayers. Return
  2.  

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