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Kielcer Organizations in Israel and the Diaspora {cont.}

[Page 301]

Organization of Kielcers in New York
(Kielcer Society in New York)

The Kielcer Society in New York has been in existence for over 50 years. In 1954 it celebrated it's 50 year Jubilee:

Heading the Society are Messrs.: I. Pienkowicz, Z. Sztajnhauer, M. Machtynger, W. Adler, S. Majerson, J. Minc, H. Dam, H. Moskowicz, Rabbi Mejer Blumenfeld, M. Zylbersztajn, R. Romberg, A. Rozencwajg, S. Wigan, M. Dziadek, R. Szugierman, P. Adler, J. Altman, Dr. A. Mantel, Dr. Rajzman and the honorary president, founder of the Society 50 years ago, H. S. Markowicz. Aside from these names the following participate in the Society's activities: Messrs. M. Heller, M. Cytryn, H. Goldlust, S. Hejd, M. Fajgen, A. Cytryn, D. Herszkowicz, S. Hendler, S. Ezryng, S. Cwajgenbaum, J. Slimowicz, D. Moskowicz, F. Bimko, Professor A. Lewi and others.

The Society also has an aid committee of ladies from Kielce headed by: P. Rotkowski, R. Sejnes, H. Rozencwajg, D. Moskowicz, G. Goldsztajn, H. Cytryn, J. Dam, S. Pienkowicz, E. Machtynger, M. Heller, M. Majerson, R. Dziadek, S. Szugierman, L. Kirszenbaum and Goldlust.

The Society was very active after the world war in granting aid to refugees and survivors from Kielce in the displaced persons camps in Germany, Sweden and other places and also aided Kielcers who immigrated to Israel with significant sums.

kie301.jpg [10 KB] - Rabbi Mejer Blumenfeld
Rabbi Mejer Blumenfeld,
the rabbi of Newark, New Jersey

grandson of Rabbi Izrael Sofer from Kielce

[Page 302]

kie302.jpg [37 KB] - The Committee of the Society of Kielcers in Los Angeles
The Committee of the Society of Kielcers in Los Angeles

[Page 303]

Organization of Kielcers in Los Angeles
(Kielcer Society in Los Angeles)

This organization is the most active in the United States. Thanks to its massive support the charitable fund for immigrants from Kielce in Israel was established, which thrives and develops thanks to the continual help of this Society. The enlivening spirit of the Society is Mr. Max Agranow, a dear Jew, faithful public activist, devoted heart and soul to the needs and works of the public.

At the head of this active Society are the following: J. Szapiro, Chair, M. J. Gold, Assistant Chair, Anna Blak, Assistant Chair, Philip Golombek, Assistant Chair, H. Jura, Treasurer, Lea Ross (Rozenszafir), Secretary, L. Wiggins, A. Rozenszafir, Zalman Manela, Financial Secretary, Max Agranow, General and Financial Manager and Sane Cooper (Kupczik).

Among the Kielcers in other cities in the United States, the following are outstanding in their public activity: Mr. Wiliam Agranow in Miami, Izrael Garfin in Edmonton and Mrs. Beker in Chicago.

Key to photo on Page 302: Sitting from right to left: Mosze Jakob Gold, Assistant Chair, Anna Blak, Assistant Chair, Jona Szapiro, Chair, Philip Golombek, Assistant Chair. Second Row: Sane Cooper (Kupczik), the oldest Kielcer in the world (aged 94), Mrs. Gold, Mryam Braza, Toli Szapiro, Mrs. Golombek, Harry Jura, Treasurer. Third Row: Lea Ross (Rozenszafir), Awraham Ross (Rozenszafir), Lea Jura Fourth Row: Mrs. Garfinkel from Edmonton, Mrs. Manela, Zalman Manela, Financial Secretary, Fanny Agranow, Max (Motke) Agranow (Agranowicz), General Manager.

[Page 304]

kie304a.jpg [27 KB] - Jona Szapiro   kie305b.jpg [23 KB] - Max Agranow (Motke Agranowicz)
Jona Szapira
president of the Kielcers
in Los Angeles
  Max Agranow (Motke Agranowicz)
the founder and driving spirit in the Society
of Kielcers in Los Angeles

[Page 305]

Organization of Kielcers in Toronto (Canada)
(Kielcer Society in Toronto)

The Kielce organization in Toronto is very active in extending aid to needy Kielcers around the world and especially in Israel. Its continual aid to the charitable fund of the Kielcers in Israel contributed immensely to the development and thriving of this fund. Among those who stand at the head of the organization and who are especially devoted to this work are the members Akiwa Ladowski and Aharon Ladowski, who faithfully work for the public good and especially the Kielcer public in Israel.

The members of the Society leadership are: Cz. Garden, C. Abela, C. Szprechman, N. Jasne, A. Czenrendorf, Aharon Ladowski, Akiwa Ladowski and others.

kie305.jpg [15 KB] - Akiwa Ladwoski
Akiwa Ladowski
member of the leadership of the Kielcer Society in Toronto

[Page 306]

Organization of Kielcers in Argentina

This organization was founded in its day by Mr. Lichtensztajn, Z”L, and provides services and aid for Kielcers in Buenos Aires and participates in the cultural work of the organizations of Polish Jews in Argentina, which has a broad range of activity. For a variety of reasons, mainly difficulty in transferring funds and a low exchange rate, this organization has not participated in aid to Jews of Kielce around the world except in Argentina, and also did not participate in financial aid to Kielcers in Israel.

Organization of Kielcers in Paris (France)

There is an organization of people from Kielce in Paris as well, which is active among the Kielcers there mainly in extending legal aid vis a vis the authorities in getting work permits and trade licenses and obtaining French citizenship.

Besides this, the organization is active in obtaining reparations from Germany for those who were tortured in the Nazi concentration camps during the war.

Among the founders and leaders of the organization are: Mosze Zajfman, Z”L, Jehuda Zajde, Dr. Wajnberger, Majer Zajde, Jonatan Grinszpan and others.

[Page 307]


For technical reasons this description was
not printed in the chapter that dealt with the
political parties in Kielce.

A History of the Poalei Zion Movement (left) in Kielce

by Chaim Posloszni and Szaul Goldman

The history of the Poalei Zion Movement in Kielce actually begins back in 1904/5. Kielce was one of the first cities in Poland in which groups of “Poalei Zion” started.

As an active party, the movement arose in Kielce only at the end of the Austrian occupation during world War I and with the establishment of the state of Poland.

1918 was the inaugural year of the labor movement in Poland, which at the time emerged from underground to a public life.

Poalei Zion was then the only labor party on the Jewish streets of Kielce. At its head then stood Lazar Szulman, Zalewski, Rochale Machtynger, Berl Praposzinski, Izrael Apel and Izrael Wajnsztok (they all perished in the Nazi Shoah) and youth activists Mosze Kornfeld and Jehuda Zajde. To aid them, the center in Warsaw sent them Baruch Szapiro and Eliasz, the organizers.

All of the Jewish professional associations in the city were led by the party. In order to help the unemployed, the party opened a cooperative kitchen and a childcare crèche at which the poor of the population received food for a small sum.

In 1919 the first democratic municipal elections were held. The party participated in these elections and in spite of the persecutions and pressure by the government institutions, its representative Awraham Wajncwajg was elected as a member of the municipality.

At the first meeting of the municipality, when Wajncwajg read his party's platform (in Yiddish), the Endeks assaulted him with cries of scorn and threats, and from then on looked for opportunities to take their revenge upon him. They found such an opportunity with the outbreak of the Polish-Bolshevik war. Even beforehand, the party suffered from government persecution for its enthusiasm for the Russian October Revolution.

Using the excuse that the party building was used to hold anti-Polish meetings, the police attacked the building and arrested its members Wajncwajg and Szulman. A trial was staged against Wajncwajg and he was sentenced to a year in prison.

The police persecutions against the leaders forced these people to leave the city, and a few of them even emigrated. The party's activity was severely weakened.

[Page 308]

The central committee sent member Awraham Wengrad to revive activities, but he became ill and died in the Kielce hospital (and several thousand people from all ranks participated in his funeral).

Only in 1926 did the party recover and renew its activities. In this year there were new municipal elections. The party established an active election committee and from that point on the party's work was renewed and spread to numerous areas. The party also conquered most of the professional associations in the city, which had been under the influence of the “Reds” (the communists), like the Needle Workers, the Woodworkers, the Leather Workers and others.

The most active members in these associations were Mosze Kornfeld and Menachem Zylbersztajn, who was an exceptional speaker of enormous talent. As the secretary of the Leather Workers' Association Menachem Zylbersztajn devoted much of his energies to popularize the ideals of proletarian Zionism among the workers and to battle the demagoguery of the “Reds”. In his appearances he succeeded in persuading many of the youth divisions of this association, among them Chaim Posloszni (who is in Israel) and Mordechai Wajsbrot, Mosze Josef Szenker and Jechiel Zylbersztajn (who perished in the Shoah).

This group, which he converted to the party, was the founding group of the youth association of Poalei Zion called “Jugend” as well as the Union of Working Children “Jung-bor”.

In 1928 the party organized the sport club “Gwiazda Stern”; the club was headed by Mosze Kornfeld, Zelig Garfinkel (perished in the Shoah) Hersz Strawczinski (now in Israel) and Jehuda Zajde (in Paris). They had divisions for football, boxing, ping-pong and light athletics. The club also served as a place for social and cultural activities.

The most active members of the club were Jerachmiel Rabinowicz, Izrael Winogrodzki, Izrael Pinkusowicz, Lajb-Ber Rzyto, Icak Dziwicki, Jakob Gotowizna (all perished in the Shoah) and Dawid Choderland, Lajbel Kuperberg, and Icza Chornzawski (who are in Israel), Awraham Rembiszewski and Icza Oszerowicz (in America).

The party also established a society for evening classes for laborers, at which they learned languages, History (General and Jewish) and other subjects and at which there were also cultural and literary lectures.

The party was affiliated with a dramatic circle called “Yiddishe Arbeiter Bine”, which became well known in the area.

Among the party youth “Jugend” especially outstanding were Szaul Goldman (in Israel), Mosze Kirszencwajg, Perl Strawczinska and Lajbel Kochen (perished in the Shoah).

Between 1934-1936, when the “Senacia” authorities became more and more Hitlerian and the persecutions against the Jewish population of Poland grew worse, especially against the Jewish labor movements, the evening class society was closed to laborers and its property was confiscated.

[Page 309]

After the general strike of the Jewish professional association on March 17, 1936, which was declared throughout Poland by the “Land-Rat” (The National Council) of the professional associations, as a protest against the anti-Semitic riots, Hersz Strawczinski, the party secretary, was arrested and tried.

On May 1st, 1936, a giant demonstration was held jointly by the Poalei Zion C.S. and P.P.S., which made a tremendous impression upon the entire population of the city. As a result of this, the Endeks and their newsletter “Orndovnik” began a venomous anti-Semitic campaign against the Jews that caused frequent assaults on the streets upon the Jewish population in Kielce. At the initiative of Poalei Zion (Left), Jewish patrols were set up in the streets of the city. The groups of the meat workers excelled at these patrols especially, as well as those of the sports clubs “Stern” and “HaPoel”.

“The Association of Friends of the Laborers of the Land of Israel” had a special place in party activities. Besides its propaganda value it was very effective at gathering contributions for laborers in the Land of Israel.

A turning point in the development of the party was the decision, taken by the convention of 1938, to participate in all the activities of the Zionist movement, Congress, funds, etc. A new realm of action opened to the members of the party, who participated with enthusiasm in all the tasks of gathering contributions for the funds, distributing “shekels” and especially activities for the League of Laborers of the Land of Israel, while simultaneously, not neglecting the daily tasks of the political and economic struggle to improve the lot of the workers and the professional associations.

This change had no small influence on creating closer ties with Poalei Zion (C.S.) and “HaShomer Hatza'ir”. This was after the dispersal of the cmmunist party in Poland by the Comintern. The “Bund” was also trying to establish itself in Kielce at the time using the Communists. This situation caused stronger connections between the Zionist-Socialist movements and to joint public appearances.

A fine example of such joint activities were the performances on the first of May of the last few years before the war and especially the great demonstration in 1938, in which the performance of Kibbutz Borochov (under the influence of Poalei Zion – C.S.) was especially notable.

One of the best chapters of the struggle of the Jewish laborers in Kielce were the municipal elections in 1938.

In order to minimize the representation of the laborers and progressives in the municipalities, the authorities passed a new law of personal-district elections. The government divided the city into electoral districts in such a way that the laborers would not be able to elect their representatives. Under the agreement of the party with Poalei Zion (C.S.) and other non-party members, a joint list of candidates was presented at the elections. As a result, the Endek authorities lost in a landslide. In all the districts representatives of the P.P.S. (the Polish Socialist Party) were elected with the help of the Jews and the party's candidate Mosze Solrz was elected by a large majority.

This victory was the swan song of the party and of the entire Jewish population in Kielce.

1939 arrived and together with it a world war and great Shoah, which wiped out the Jews in the state of Poland, among them the Jews of Kielce in all their political parties and public life.

[Page 310]

List of Activists in the Professional Movements in Kielce
During the last years before the Nazi Shoah

Leather Workers Association:

Poalei Zion (Left) – Jechiel Zylbersztajn, Szaul Goldman, Mosze Kirszencwajg and Chaim Posloszni.
Poalei Zion (C.S.) – Wolf Kalichsztajn, Lisman, Goldlust.
Bund – Berisz Wajnsztok.
Communist Practice (“Reds”) – Mosze Zlotnik, Dawid Kirszencwajg, Jona Rozmajti.
Poalei Agudat Yisrael – Dawid Golinski.

Needle Workers Association:

Poalei Zion (Left) – Pinchas Kirszencwajg, Mejer Dawid Grynberg.
The Communist Practice – Flomenbaum, Jehoszua Szternfeld, Mosze Josef Laks.

Meat Workers Association:

Herszkowicz, Jeszaja Cuker, Mosze Godel Bukszpan, Dawid Oszerowicz.

Bakers Association:

Henich Pinkusowicz.

Clerks Association:

Kuba Chwat.

Szymon Strawczinski functioned as the organizer of the Food Association (representing Poalei Zion C.S.)

[Page 311]

Memorial to Natives of Kielce
Who Fell Defending the Land and the State

Jerachmiel Solnik, member of the Hagana,
        Fell at Ramat HaKovesh in 1937.

Jakob Berger, commander of the Hagana in Jerusalem
        Fell on the day Hanita was established in 1938.

Szaul Korman, born in 1912, moved to the land of Israel in 1938,
        Fell defending Jerusalem in February 1948.

Szmuel Strawczinski, member of the Palmach,
        Fell in battle with the Ka'ukji Gangs defending Mishmar HaEmek in April 1948.

Izrael Korngold
        Fell defending Ramat HaShofet.

Mordechai Goldrat, son of Mejer, born in 1907, moved to the land of Israel in 1929,
        Fell defending the Quarry of Migdal-Tzedek during the War of Independence in 1948.

Natan Hocherman, born in 1935, officer in the IDF,
        Fell in the battle at Kalkilya in 5717 (1956).

Izrael-Izak Machtinger, son of Mordechai, born in 1918,
        Fell in the Sinai Campaign in the battle for Gaza on the 1st of Kislev, 5717 (November-December 1956).

[Page 312]

kie312.jpg [20 KB] - Four generations of the Jews of Kielce
Four generations of the Jews of Kielce:
Izrael Kochen, his son Chaim Kochen, the son-in-law
of Chaim Kochen – Pinchas Cytron (author of the book) and his son, Arye Cytron

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