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Philanthropic Activities


The Jewish Hospital
(The history from its founding until its liquidation)

by Yehoshua Helfant (Former steward of the Jewish Hospital)

Translated by Janie Respitz

The origins of the Jewish Hospital in Radom is told in detail in Dr. N.M. Gelbart's “Chapters From the Past”.

A marble panel at the entrance of the main building says that: “The building was erected in 1847…”

At that time the wealthy man and mediator Reb Saneh Bekerman, the father of the well known philanthropic family supported the hospital generously. From 1880-1890 Reb Saneh's son, Ruvele Bekerman was curator of the hospital. He was well known as a communal activist and a great philanthropist. He was, among others, the funder and builder of the magnificent building for the old people's home, where the orphanage was later also created.

The Bekerman family's praiseworthy actions were helpful in building the synagogue and the House of Study. Ruvele Bekerman gave a lot of effort and energy to the hospital as well as large sums of money. He hired a proper personnel of doctors, nurses and administrators. The chief doctor and surgeon was Dr. Shpilrayn. Internal medicine, the beloved Dr. Fidler. Assistant medic, Yisroel Finkelshteyn, or as he was called “Yisroelke the medic”. The steward was Kamer.

While the Jews payed a hospital tax and the fact that Ruvele Bekerman did not get payed, the hospital was still in a difficult financial situation. Because of this a custom began in town. When wealthy Jews had a celebration, on that same say they would come to the hospital and distribute cakes, wine, fruit to the patients.

Ruvele was the curator of the hospital until the outbreak of the First World War. When the war broke out he was in Switzerland, cut off from his home and his great wealth. He did not succeed in taking his money out of Poland, and he, the very rich man and generous philanthropist, lived there in destitution and died from hunger.

Dr. Shpilrayn also left and the new chief doctor was Yisroelke the medic's son, Dr. Vladislav Finkleshteyn. Dr. Kolodner was hired as surgeon, and was also a laryngologist. The assistant – medic was Yisroelke the medic's second son, Meir Finkelshteyn. The curator was the industrialist Elye Teneboym and the steward, Itamar's son, Moritz Adler.

In those years the hospital management changed often. For a few years it was managed by the city administration, and then a special society created by the government which supervised all the hospitals. However, the managers that were sent did not care about the hospital. They only cared about their personal futures. They were only concerned about making money and there were a few who actually stood trial, accused of stealing money. They were sentenced to a few years in jail.

In 1933 the hospital society was dissolved by the government and all the hospitals were once again managed by the city administration. Dr. Kolodner retired and his position was taken over by the surgeon Dr. Klaynberger.

The Radom city administration supervised three hospitals: the General, the Epidemic and the Jewish, however the last one was neglected. The Jewish councilmen fought for greater subsidies for the Jewish

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Hospital to cover its deficits. The city administration wanted to transform it to a general hospital for women with venereal diseases. The Jewish councilmen, headed by Dr. Pastman, with the alderman Moishe Rotenberg began a fight against this plan and they reached out for intervention from the central authority in Warsaw. They held meetings with representatives from all groups to express a protest against the plan to liquidate the Jewish hospital and to take all measures to be sure the hospital would return to the Jewish communal administration whose chairman was the well known industrialist Mr. Mordkhai Den.

In the city administration the socialists (P.P.S) received the majority and they recognized the justified Jewish demands. However, now it appeared the founders of the hospital, unfortunately neglected to carry out the mortgage formalities and now it was difficult to establish who the owner was. Therefore, a hospital committee was created under the directorship of the chairman of the Jewish community council, Mordkhai Den. The committee consisted of Jewish councilmen, doctors, lawyers, representatives from all the movements and the well known judge, Yuzef Bekerman. The committee had to arrange the matter with the city administration, carry out a thorough renovation of the hospital building and place the institution on an appropriate level.

Judge Bekerman was the person who was most knowledgeable in the history of the hospital. He found very important pieces of evidence to ascertain the Jewish character of the hospital, besides the property rights. Later, during the Nazi occupation, two years before his tragic death, we lived in the hospital together. We became friends and he told me the history of the hospital.

After many deliberations with the Jewish representatives, the city administration closed a deal with the Jewish community council, where the hospital received a lease for 12 years for the symbolic payment of 1 zloty a year. The form of the lease was accepted because neither side was able to show its property rights. Unwilling to carry the material burden of the Jewish hospital, the city administration gave it over to Alderman Moishe Rotenberg for three months, until the first of July and then the hospital was established. The deal with the Jewish community council was valid from the first of November 1936 until the first of November 1948. The deal was signed by the following in the city administration: the president, the lawyer Tchavinsky, the director of the health department Alderman Tchvienk and Alderwoman Kelles – Krauz. From the Jewish community council: Chiarman Mordkhai Den, and members Motl Ayzman and Moishe Klepfish.

Immediately after the deal was made, they carried out the thorough renovation.

The renovations were led by the engineer A. Goldblum (today in Israel).

A special committee ran a collection campaign which raised a nice amount of money. They also received support from Radom Jews living in America. They bought new instruments, particularly surgical, new bedding and furniture. All these expenditures amounted to 62,540 zlotys besides those things, there were donations by individuals like glazed plates, crockery and underwear. Particularly, we must mention the generosity of Piotr Bekerman, Judge Yuzef Bekerman's brother who gave five thousand zlotys for the renovations, asking that one of the hospital wards be named for Reb Saneh Bekerman and his wife, Ruvele Bekerman and his wife, Itchele Bekerman and his wife, as well his son's name. This suggestion was accepted without discussion since the great wealth of the Bekerman family was beyond all doubts. Mr. Piotr Bekerman donated the marble panels with the above mentioned names and they were hung in the halls of the hospital. On May 30th 1937 there was a celebratory opening of the renovated and rebuilt Jewish hospital. It was a great celebration in town. After special prayers in the synagogue, masses of Jews gathered in front of the hospital. In attendance at the opening were the Starosta (Russian Town Elder), city president and members of the city administration and representatives from all the Jewish movements. Flowers were planted in front of the hospital. The well known artisan activist Shmuel Eydelman (died in Canada) hammered out an artistic Star of David from sheet metal with an inscription in Polish: “Starozkonikh Hospital”. Everyone was amazed with this masterful installation and its esthetic value.

During the celebratory reopening of the renovated hospital, the philanthropist Piotr Bekerman gave the following address:

“As a token of our appreciation and admiration which the Radom Jewish population has for your deceased, unforgettable, gentle parents and their inheritors who are following in their footsteps, we decided to name the main hall in honour of Nataniel Bekerman and Meir Mendelson; Hall number 2, in the name of Itchele Bekerman and his wife Esther (nee Mendelson), and in the name of Ruven Bekerman and his wife Yulia (nee Korngold); Hall number 3, in the name of Piotr Bekerman and his son, the investigating judge, major in the Polish military, Vitold Janusz”.
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This address was signed by: the Jewish community council chairman Mordkhai Den and the board members Moishe Klepfish and Yoyne Goldberg and Rabbi Yekhiel Kestenberg. From the hospital council, Itamar Adler and Moishe Rotenberg. The doctors: Y. Levy, N. Shenderovitch, and Y. Klaynberger.

On June 10th 1937 they began to receive patients and to function normally. The director and surgeon was Dr. Klaynberger. Internists: Dr. Kelervorm and Dr. Gutman. The specialists Dr. Noyfeld, Dr. Yakov Goldblum (died in Israel) and Dr. Vitonsky volunteered. The assisting staff: the medic Meir Finkelshteyn and the nurse Hadassah Rozenboym. The writer of these lines was chosen as steward.

A new hospital council was formed with: Mordkhai Den, Dr. Vl. Finkelshteyn, Dr. Nokhem Shenderovitch, Dr. Ignatzi Levy, Dr. Klaynberger and the lawyer Shtiler.

Somewhat later they organized an out patient clinic which saw up to 30 patients a day, free of charge, and did small operations. They also opened a help centre for poor Jewish children.

The director there was Mrs. Dr. Kromolovsky. A nurse went around to the poor Jewish homes where mothers and small children were in need of hygiene instruction. The mothers were demanded to bring their children twice a week for medical examinations.

The first months showed that with a small backing the hospital could subsist. The city administration which paid for the patients they sent to the hospital, sent them to the non-Jewish hospital to support them. Then there was an intervention saying Jewish patients should be sent to the Jewish hospital where the orthodox received kosher food and felt better in familiar surrounding.

The same was obtained by The General Patient's Fund where Jewish workers were insured.

They also set up a prayer house where patients could pray with a quorum. All the holidays were traditionally celebrated, especially the Passover Seders. Guests from America came to visit like our former townsmen Zaydman, Hamershteyn and Moishe Radomsky, who were amazed with our work. The last one attended a Seder in 1938, which was attended by all the doctors, Rabbi Kestenberg and the chairman of the Jewish community council Mordkhai Den. They made the patients happy.

The hospital continued to develop nicely, buying new instruments and bedding. Our townsmen in America often sent financial support but the best gift was when they sent an x-ray machine.

There was a plan to build a second floor on the hospital building. Dr. Klaynberger was supposed to travel to America to raise the appropriate funds, but it was the eve of the war and the authorities were not giving travel permits.

Although the continuation of the history of the Jewish hospital took place during the Holocaust and should be included in the Holocaust section of this book, we are including it here so as not to disrupt the chronology of the narrative. The editor.

When the war broke out almost all the doctors were mobilized. The hospital building was not damaged in the bombing, but they received many wounded. On the eighth day the Germans occupied Radom. A general committee was quickly created to protect the health of the population and to maintain the hospitals which was overflowing with victims from the bombings. Given that the Germans were taking the Jews for forced labour, we took all the Jewish nurses, orderlies, dentists, medics, and medical students and gave them jobs in the hospital. They quickly ran out of supplies, food and medication, and the amount of patients continued to increase. We ran out of beds and had to put them on stretchers on the ground.

At first the Germans respected the hospital and provided coal for heat and food as well as permits for the personnel to move freely in the streets. In 1940 the Germans ordered the creation of a department for Polish women with venereal diseases. They brought ten women and commanded us to give them the finest ward. Soon the amount of women with venereal disease grew to forty. The S.S. came and caused us grief. We turned to the city administration which agreed to pay us for those wounded in the bombings.

When they distributed food cards, Jews received half of what the Christians did. Now the Judenrat had to support the hospital. The Jews were now confined to two ghettos and there was an order to shoot anyone who went out. Everyday, 4-5 shot Jews were brought to the hospital who had left the ghetto in search of food. The Gestapo would also come “to be entertained” in the ghetto shooting 50-60 Jews whose bodies were brought to the hospital. We piled them one on top of another in a wagon and brought them to the cemetery. They brought us people emaciated from hunger who barely lived a few hours. According to the statistics from 1942, 66 percent of deaths were due to hunger.

Totally unexpectedly there was a deportation from the second ghetto on Glinitza. From eight thousand Jews they left only one thousand who were able to work. Around 900 men, women and children were shot on

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the spot. The two thousand men who avoided the count were taken to the large ghetto on Voel where another one hundred men were shot on the spot. They brought the victims to the hospital. Those killed lay there for an entire day until we were permitted to bury them.

Two weeks passed between the first deportation and the second. It was Sunday, August 14th, 1942. Two thousand S.S. men gathered in front of the hospital on this dark night. Exactly at midnight the shooting began and we heard terrifying screams. A Gestapo came to me and demanded the keys for the warehouses where he placed a guard. In the morning I received an order that those who are not severely ill should be dressed and ready. We did not know what they had to be ready for and chaos ensued. Two o'clock in the morning the head of the deportation, the Junior Storm Leader Schippers came in. He was drunk and was holding a whip in his hand and began beating the staff and patients who were walking around.

We were demanded to hand over everything we possessed and they announced we should all be ready. My nine year old son asked me then to save him from being shot. He was afraid and wanted to live. My heart bled as I was helpless.

At the same time we had to remove all patients from their beds and carry them outside to the Pentz Plaza in front of the hospital. We now knew these were our final hours. Jews had to carry their sick brothers and sisters to the slaughter.

At the plaza a squad of Ukrainians were waiting with machine guns. The patients had to lie with their faces to the ground and they were all shot.

The entire staff, heavily guarded, was taken to a gathering point and from there taken to the newly created small ghetto.

This is how the lives ended of the last patients of the Jewish hospital which ceased to exist as a Jewish hospital on August 17th 1942.

The Old People's Home

Translated by Janie Respitz

It was founded in 1913 by the philanthropist Ruven Bekerman and his wife Yuta. At their place in Abozhisko, behind the city, they built a big house with spacious rooms, bathtubs, electricity and all the proper facilities. They also made sure there was a nice synagogue with a women's section and a magnificent garden behind the house which was originally planned for 50 elderly men and women.

The following was written about the dedication ceremony of the opening of the Old People's Home in “Hatzfira” newspaper:

“In the year 1880, when Madam Perl Roze, the mother of the philanthropist Reb Ruven Bekerman died, he pledged in her memory 25 thousand ruble for the house which he began building eight years ago. The construction took three years and cost around sixty thousand ruble. The entire time he did not rest and supervised the work from morning until night.

According to the law, you cannot open a philanthropic institution without a fund that would ensure the support of such a house. The fund toward this goal consisted of ten thousand ruble which Ruven Bekermans' father, Reb Nataniel left in a mortgage on his house at six percent a year. For this reason, Reb Ruven Bekerman suggested the Jewish community council take over the gift: the house together with his father's inheritance (his father's inheritance with interest already reached forty thousand ruble) on condition the Jewish community council pays the remaining amount needed for the fund the support the Old People's Home. The Jewish community council refused.

Two years ago, after the death of his son Shabsai (Stashek), Ruven Bekerman donated another 20 thousand ruble, in memory of his son, to the fund to support the house which was finally completed (in 1913) when Mr. Ruven Bekerman turned eighty years old.

A large crowd came to the celebratory opening including: the district commissar and his deputy, high government officials, the intelligentsia and elite of the city.

The district commissar gave a warm welcome speech. After him, Dr. Rahskes spoke and encouraged other wealthy men to follow the example of the philanthropist Ruven Bekerman and “walk in his path”.

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The Silver Key…

by Yehuda Tzuker

Translated by Janie Respitz

I was working then as a lathe operator for the master Moishele Huberman, when the engineer Leon Bekerman entered and asked his advice how to mark the event of the opening of the Old People's Home. Huberman suggested a large key made from pure silver with artistic engraving and decorated with an appropriate inscription. Leon Bekerman liked the idea and made the order.

The art of engraving gold and silver in those years in Radom (1913) was still in its infant stage. Our master drew a picture of a key and we began to prepare the raw material: a silver rod, one centimetre thick. It was difficult and precise work, but we were proud of it. The key weighed one and a half kilo.

When Leon Bekerman came to get the key he was impressed with its beauty and he took a picture.

When paying the agreed upon price, Leon payed more in recognition of the responsible and artistic work.

The opening ceremony of the Old People's Home took place with this silver key. It was later given to Mr. Ruven Bekerman as a memento.


The Orphanage

There were many orphans after the First World War. Some were orphans of those who fell on the front and others from the typhus epidemic. All these lonely children had to be looked after and needed a home. A portion of the spacious Old People's Home was transformed into an orphanage.

The orphans received a beautiful, comfortable home with the best facilities. They also had a trade school: tailoring for girls. The boys learned in various workshops in town.

For many years the overseer of the Old People's Home and the orphanage was the well known community activist Dr. Ksavera Muller. When she left Radom in 1935 she was replaced by Mrs. Franchishka Kurover who now lives in Australia. The following community workers were also active: Mrs. Horovitz, (her husband was the director of the gymnasia “Lovers of Knowledge”), Mrs. Lastman and Mrs. Bluma Rotenberg.

For many years the following were active in both institutions:

Yisroel Yakov Diament, Itamar Adler, Mikhal Rikhtman, Mordkhai Den, Moishe Rotenberg, Yitzkhak Grin, the dentist Tatar, Kalmen Rikhtman and others. The steward was Mordkhai Langer. The last educator was Rabbi Dr. G. Horovitz from Lemberg who was loved for his devotion to the orphans. He was killed in the Holocaust.

In the Radom newspaper from September 1922 we read the following:

“It is more than two years that this establishment continues this blessed work, without fanfare or pretensions, thanks to the devotion and energy of the lawyer Sh. Muller and his sister Dr. Ksavera Muller.

When we see in our streets the children walking in their uniforms under the supervision of their educator, and we hear their happy childish voices, we derive great pleasure. We know, thanks to the caring attitude of the administration, the children feel at home, as if in a family atmosphere.

Now there are 70 children here.

Like all other institutions, the orphanage struggles with a deficit. The income was decreasing and the city council did not pay their portion on time. The thought arose that we take the example of wealthy American families to adopt children. Something was already happening in that direction. However there was a need for more understanding and help from the active volunteers.

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The following was recounted in the “Radom Newspaper” February 1923:

“Saturday night, after the Sabbath, a meeting took place at the lawyer Muller's house of the board of the orphanage with the participation of the representative from The Central Committee for Children's Aid, Mr. Bergman from Warsaw. Only five board members came and Mr. Bergman spoke to them about the reorganization in connection to the American campaign for children and orphans. According to the new plan an aid society must be founded in every city for poor children, orphans and similar cases.

Mrs. Dr. Muller described the difficult situation in the orphanage and added that they cannot even discuss expansion at a time when they are lacking the means to support the orphanage proper.

It was decided to expand the amount of committee members by coopting representatives from various other institutions.

Thanks to the efforts of the following: Eydlboym, Briliant, Feldman and Kh. Korman the evening for the welfare of the orphanage which was organized in the artisan's club was a great success. The children from the orphanage performed a few skits and the dramatic section of the artisans performed a 2 act play. The profits of the evening amounted to 400,000 mark”.

In the same newspaper we read on:
“May the first also not be the last!”
Many of the rich men in town should learn from this example!

Mr. Avrom Rotenberg donated, in honour of his daughter's wedding, four hundred thousand mark and 50 pairs of shoes to the orphanage.

If one man helped all the barefoot children all the other wealthy men should follow his lead and donate clothing and underwear before the oncoming winter”.

Here is a notice about a children's concert for children:

“On October 10th in the “Rozmaitoshchi” theatre a concert took place, organized by the board of the orphanage and Old People's Home”. Almost all the participants and audience were children. The children performed a one act play, recited poetry and sang. The concert was very successful and brought in two hundred thousand mark”.
The following was said about a grandiose performance at the orphanage:
“For the first time since the orphanage exists tickets were sold for the performance by the children themselves. The profit of 160 zlotys will go toward the purchase of sports equipment.
Before the performance Dr. G. Horovitz spoke about the indifference of the city communal activists who did not feel in was necessary to come to the performance in which so much effort invested.

In the play “Komushke”, revised by the educator P.N. Fridman, Charna Minkovsky was amazing. In the “Springtime and Flowers” dance, directed by Miss Shpeyzman the following were outstanding: Feyge Shafir, Vishniyevitz, Linitz, Elavitz, and Broytman. From the reciters: (texts: Dr. Horovitz), the following made a strong impression: “The White Book” performed by Firstnboym, “Child Refugees” performed by Khane Rayznshtat, and “Outside the City” performed by Shayndl Rubinshteyn. There was great interest shown for the “Oriental Scenes”. The main role was played by the 15 year old Feyge Shafir.

The choir sang Hebrew and Yiddish songs and Yemenite melodies.

A large thanks must be given to Mr. Grosfeld for helping to build the stage.

(Radom Kielcer Life, April, 1939).

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The Society to Help New Mothers

Translated by Janie Respitz

This society was founded in 1906. The following were among the active women: Ferster, Zigman, Grin and others. We read about the goals, restrictions and difficulties of the society in a notice in the Radom Newspaper from September 1924:

“This institution helps new mothers with midwives, laundry and cash. The institution does not have administrative expenses as everything is dome voluntarily.

The workers are complaining about the indifference of the people: only 250 women are registered as members and the monthly income is barely 150 zlotys when at this time we need 200 zlotys a month…”


The Society to Spend the Night with the Sick

This was one of the oldest charitable societies. It was founded before the First World War by the head of the Jewish community at the time Reb Yitzkhak Bialsky. At the time it was the only aid society in Radom.

During that period the municipal authority did not help the Jewish population, not even with medical aid for the sick poor. The Jewish community council with its limited means, had to support the Jewish hospital on its own.

The “Society to Spend the Night with the Sick” had two important tasks: supplying medical and financial help to poor patients: Firstly the society sent a medic to the patient. It the more serious cases, a doctor. In addition, prescriptions and some money. Medical instruments were lent and people were sent to watch over the patient (tour of duty), in order to help the family of the patient because in those days there were not any nurses.

In the last years the “Society to Spend the Night with the Sick” occupied a large premise at 23 Rvaynska Street.

The following were active volunteers from the first day on: Yitzkhak Bialsky, Henekh Veyntroyb, Shmuel Korman, Mikhal Rikhtman, Mendl Stashevsky and others.

In the last years the secretary Moishe Litvak was very active. He understood medicine, was able to read prescriptions and proved to be particularly useful in urgent situations.

In “Radom - Kletz Life” from May 1927 the following was written about the “Society to Spend the Night with the Sick”:

“Over the past few weeks the regulations of the “Society to Spend the Night with the Sick” were confirmed in Radom. Until this time it was not an independent society but a division of “Ezra” (Aid).
Those active in the society were determined to return the society to the central place it held among institutions in the city before the war. At first it will be difficult to set up a clinic and a medication warehouse like they used to have, but the board is hopeful they will eventually achieve their goal. They will once again, organize shifts to spend the night with patients, watch over the patients and call for a doctor when necessary. Those on duty will also receive medication free of charge according to a deal with the pharmacy. There was also a deal made with the doctors to visit each patient according to the place in line.

This humanitarian duty had to resonate among the population. The society was waiting for a quick response to their request for volunteers for night duty”.

However, in an edition of the same newspaper twelve years later there was the following desperate call under the headline:

“Save the Society to Spend the Night with the Sick”

“In respect to the present situation, a few meetings and consultations were held with volunteers and eminent people

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to find a way to prevent the closing down this important institution. If the pharmacies will stop giving medications, it will be a big blow to the society which has been in existence for over 30 years.
Mr. Mordkhai Den put forth a few plans how to save the institution. Among others: an urgent campaign according to a special list. Mr. Den was the first to sign on and is hopeful other wealthy people will respond”.

In “Radom Keltz Life” from November 1935 the following was written:

“Everyone agrees that the “Society to Spend the Night with the Sick” fulfills an important task in our city. Nevertheless, only three hundred members have signed up and mainly from the working class and the poor who really feel the importance of this institution.

The monthly revenue is barely 200 zlotys and the expenses are more than double. In the last two months when there was a bout of influenza and the society spent more than 1,500 zlotys on doctors, medication and other expenditures.

Compared to the situation before the war it is unfortunate to stress a big setback on the part of the population with regard to our social institutions in Radom”.



The society “TOZ” to preserve the health of the population, particularly children, was founded in Radom in 1924.

With the help of the central office on Warsaw the society developed diversified activities. Among other things, they propagandized communal hygiene, planted gardens near schools, distributed milk to nursing mothers, created infirmaries in schools and so on. One of their most important accomplishments was sending weak children to various healing facilities throughout the country.

Among the founders of the society were: Dr. Rashkes, Dr. Pomrok, Dr. Tzung, Dr. Ksavera Muller, the dentists Henia Rakotch, Tatar, M. Stashevsky, Grinshteyn and others. In the last years the following were also active: the lawyer Shtiler, Dr. Kelervorm, the engineer Levy, the dentist Ansher, Mikhal Rikhtman and others. They were located on 4 Dluga (Trauguta) Street. The long serving secretary was Mordkhai Teneboym, whose father, Reb Yosef Teneboym died in Israel in 1961. He was over ninety years old.

In “Radom Keltz Life” from September 1925 we read the following report:

“Over the past year the society was busy with sanitary – hygiene work among school children. For this purpose the society took over the supervision of the Talmud Torah with 300 children from the poorer class in town. There was a doctor and hygiene supervisor active there.
It is clear that in one year it is difficult to thoroughly change the hygiene situation at the Talmud Torah, but whoever visits there now will immediately notice changes. The building has been renovated, all the children have been medically examined and some have been sent to summer colonies or health spas.

Besides the Talmud Torah the society is also supervising the public schools and Heders (religious schools), which all together have one thousand students. Medical help was distributed, as well as popular lectures and short films about hygiene and health. About 40 children were sent to special spas in Warsaw.

The society does not receive any subsidies from the Jewish community or from city council, but is supported by the central office and membership dues.

Shortly, a place will be opened for children and pregnant women.

Another one hundred children were sent to a summer colony in Garbatka.

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There will be an information campaign for bodily education in order to improve the health situation of the Jewish population in general and specifically the children”.

Dr. Kh. Gutman writes about his concerns for nursing mothers and their babies:

“The war on diseases which come from microbes is very difficult due to the behaviour of women in poor neighbourhoods. They do not protect themselves with minimal cleanliness and always keep their windows closed so God forbid they do not catch a draft. Medical help is useless if the women do not respect cleanliness and hygiene.
It is urgent to explain and convince the poor women that the health of their children depends, first and foremost on them.

Therefore the prophylactic work of the new station for poor women has a separate value. The mothers and their children are examined a few times a week by Dr. Krimolovsky and a nurse. Their addresses are noted and their houses are inspected for cleanliness.

The prophylactic station has two large sunny rooms with baths and various medical instruments. The mothers find themselves in a homey environment and they receive explanations in a comprehensive language, Yiddish.

The importance of the prophylactic station for the health of the Jewish community is therefore enormous.

The initiators of the station, Dr. Kelervorm, Dr. Krimilovsky, and Dr. Toybnfeld deserve great thanks and congratulations.


“The Great Charity”

We read about the founding of the “Great Charity” with the permission of the district commissar in “Hatzifara” in 1913:

“At the general meeting a member's committee was elected, their representative and a supervisory committee of 31, mainly assimilationists. We hope these people will understand their task and in difficult times they will energetically help the poor and misfortunate whose numbers have recently increased.


“Sister Aid”

In “Izraelita” March 1907 it was told:

“In accordance with the example set by the patroness from Vilna, Dvoyre Esther, who founded a society called “Sister Aid”, such a society was founded in Radom. The goal of this society is: to help poor female merchants with loans to buy merchandise.
The fundamental capital of 1,000 ruble was donated mainly by Shmuel Adler.

The amount of members is 269 and the yearly dues are 20 – 50 ruble.

Active on the board are: Leon Bekerman (chairman), Yakov Diamnet (secretary), Shmuel Adler, Felicia Gelblum, Motl Salbe and Soreh Zisman. Those on the expanded committee are: Karolina Adler (chairwoman), Feyge Goldfayn, Mrs. Finkelshteyn, Maria Kamer, Maria Mushkatblit, M. Roznberg, Kh. Shtroyzman, Ruzha Shtiler and Ruzha Zhpeyzman. The control committee: Kamer, Shtarker and Temerson.

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“Ezra” (“Aid”)

by Leizer Fischman

Translated by Janie Respitz

Among the philanthropic institutions in Radom “Ezra” held an eminent position. Thousands of needy would turn to “Ezra” with their problems and needs and as a result the society received the name “Island of Tears”.

According to some preserved reports, we see the society had 700 members. Its crowning work was the campaign to send poor children, every year for summer rest. “Ezara distributed food and products to children and adults. A few hundred lunches were distributed every day. They gave out bread every Sabbath. In one quarter “Ezra” distributed 4,866 kilos of bread. On Passover they gave out 700 kilos of fat and over 1,200 bottles of wine, sugar, tea, flour, buckwheat, and beans etc…Around one thousand people received financial support for medicine and other needs. In half a year around 1,350 people received medication which cost tens of zlotys. 527 sick people received visits from doctors and medics. “Ezra” also helped with orthopedics.

In the “Radom Voice” from April 3rd, 1939 we read the new board of “Ezra”, especially the chairman Moishe Leslov, took great initiative in running a Passover campaign. 1,500 families benefitted, more than 6,000 individuals. The portions included: Matzah, wine, fat, and cash, given anonymously. City hall donated 2,500 zlotys, the Jewish community council, 2,000 zlotys and the rest from donations.

The newspaper “Tribune” wrote that 6,000 registered for holiday help, a record in Jewish poverty. There had not been so many needy before 1939. This bears witness to the growing need of the Jewish masses in Radom.

“Ezra” was founded in 1918 or 1919 after the First World War. Its activity was made possible thanks to the support from the “Joint”.

The founders were: Shmuel Korman, Dovid Shtroysman, Ludvig Briliant, Itche Grin, Dr. Levy, Dr. Shenderovitch and later, Itamar Adler. Those who stood out in their activity were: Mikhal Rikhtman, Leyzer Frenkel, Henokh Vayntroyb, Moishe Yitzkhak Nirenberg, Mosihe Leslov, Itche Fishman, Moishe Korman, Eliezer Margolis, Yoel Kleynman and others.

Until the founding of “TOZ”, “Ezra” took care of the sick and opened clinics for disadvantaged sick.

“Ezra” also provided shoes and clothing for the poor in our city.

According to a report for half a year (in 1939) almost one thousand people received financial support, 527 benefitted from medical aid and 1,331 received free medication.

The above mentioned communal workers were active in “Ezra” from its founding until its last days.



P. Mushkatblit wrote in 1907 that there were two aid organization sin Radom for the needy, “Akhiezer” and another society. However, because “Akhiezer” was developing well and the other society was doing practically nothing of substance, he suggested the two unite into one society which will be active and “Won't behave provincially”.


“Communal Help for Young Girls Without Resources to Marry”

This society was founded around 1915. The purpose was to provide aid in preparing weddings for poor brides, provide clothing for the young couple and help them rent a place to live.


“Communal Hospitality to Guests”

This society had special rooms at 5 Voel Street, where people could spend the night for free. Poor travellers enjoyed this as well as the local poor who did not have a roof over their heads.


Aid for Jews Who Were Arrested

For many years there was an unofficial patronage to help Jews who got arrested, under the direction of well known communal workers.

[Page 161]

Excerpts from a Presentation

Translated by Janie Respitz

About support for a Jewish Rescue Committee in Radom on behalf of the school system in the province during the First World War:

---One of the most important tasks considered by the aid committee: support for the school system in general and particularly for the younger generation.
From the beginning when waves of homeless poured in, the committee tried to create and support children's houses. The poor homeless children received a warm bright corner with physical and spiritual nourishment to help them develop normally. The aid committee distributed stable monthly support for every educational institution that approached them without differentiating between political influences.

Unfortunately the needs were so great, the committee with its best intentions could not satisfy all the demands from the entire province. In addition, the committee was accountable to the explicit desires of the foreign committees in The Hague and Vienna that demanded first and foremost they must alleviate material needs.

Today, we receive ongoing support from our committee for the following educational institutions:

  1. Radom: Talmud Torah – 350 children.
  2. Radom: elementary school – 300 children.
  3. Yedlinsky: Folks – School - 70 children.
  4. Skarishev: Folks – School – 80 children.
  5. Stashev: Folks – School – 54 children.
  6. Konsk: Folks – School – 240 children.
  7. Konsk: Talmud Torah – 155 children.
  8. Shidlovyetz: Folks – School – 148 children.
  9. Shidlovyetz: Talmud Torah – 155 children.
  10. Ostrovyetz: Folks – School – 225 children.
  11. Ostrovyetz: Talmud Torah – 380 children.
  12. Drilzh: Folks –School – 150 children.
  13. Kazanov: Folks – School – 80 children.
  14. Kozhenitz: Talmud Torah – 200 children.
  15. Radom: General Zionist School - ? children.

Some of these educational institutions were founded during the war thanks to the support of the aid committee, such as: the Folks – Schools in Yedlinsk, Skarishev, Konsk and the Talmud Torah in Shidlovyetz and Konsk.

The members of the rescue committee often visited and verified the activity of the local aid committees and the above mentioned schools. We would often visit with the delegates from Vienna: Dr. Balaban, Dr. Zoneh, Dr. Kaminka and others.

Looking for ways to increase our support for the educational institutions, we wrote memoranda to the Alliance in Vienna, to the Dutch committee in The Hague and others.

The presentation ended with the following sad scene:

Dear Sirs! I could describe for you many sad stories and scenes which would show you that the educational situation in our province is at a very low level. The general disadvantages are: the school day goes from 8 in the morning until 8 in the evening, which is certainly too long for young, not yet physically developed children. The rooms are dirty and crowded. The walls are dark. The Heder is in the home of the teacher. 3 – 4 year old babies are taken to Heder, where they sit seven – eight hours a day without supervision and without utilities. The religious teachers are unqualified and lack appropriate preparation. The children are unwashed, not developed, frightened, without life. These are the main drawbacks which must be quickly eliminated.

[Page 162]

The Refugee Committee

by Yehuda Tzuker

Translated by Janie Respitz

In 1938 streams of Jewish refugees arrived in Poland, expelled from Germany and escaping Nazi persecution. Many came to Radom where the community quickly mobilized to welcome and help these unfortunate brothers and sisters. The community called a meeting of volunteers and a large crowd showed up. On the spot they collected one thousand zlotys. The following were elected onto the committee: Mrs. Blima Rotenberg, Yonas Kirshenboym, Moishe Leslov, Yonas Rubinshteyn, the lawyer Taub and the engineer Tzimerman. The committee was designated the amount of 25 thousand zlotys and sent out appeals to all the prayer houses. The meeting of the committee was attended by representatives from almost all organizations. Jews came and brought their contributions, even those who had not received a letter. It was decided that certain families in town would take in children of the refugees. The WIZO representatives, the wives of Drs. Kadishevitch and Levin announced they wanted to begin a clothing and underwear campaign for the refugees. There were also four Jews from Italy. One woman was sick and arrangements had to be made for her to go to the hospital. Five refugee children arrived and waiting for them at the train were Mrs. Tzemakh, Moishe Leslov, Ziskind, Mrs. Kadishevitch and Mrs. Shenderovitch.

Over a period of two weeks 7,000 zlotys were raised for refugee aid.

A Worker's Aid Committee was also founded where there were representatives form all the proletarian organizations whose treasurers were Gloyberman and Lindenboym.

Factory delegations gathered in the factories and even Polish workers contributed. The money for the general refugee committee was sent to Warsaw to the address of the “Folkstzeytung”. (Newspaper).

Active Leaders
(In various societies)

Translated by Janie Respitz

The Society for Mutual Credit:

Ruven Bekerman (chairman), Yuzef Kutchinsky (vice chairman), Leon Bekerman, Moishe Goldberg, Hersh Elye Goldblum, Mendl Dantziger, Bronislav Priveh, Moishe Minsky and Mordkhai Ferster.

The board: Volf Ansher – chairman, Sh. Brams – Vice chairman, Piotr Goldrat, Marian Kozhminsky, Daniel Klayf and Stanislav Krongold – bookkeeper.

Savings and Loan Fund:
On the council: Yeverovsky – chairman, Leon Bekerman – vice chairman, Nosn Adler, Markus Gelblum, Yosef Gebel, Avrom Goldberg, Palti Mushkatblit, Palkevitch and Leyb Zaltzberg.

On the board: Daniel Klayf – chairman, Alexei Savitsky - vice, Herman Kankus. The Control Commission: Frantz Gertl, Yekhiel Kamer, S. Korngold.

Aid Society for Poor Young Mothers:
Riva Vaga, Karolina Adler and A. Hertzberg.
Founders: Yakof Ayfer, Yisroel Teneboym, Ludvig Kobriner, Mendl Fridman and Yakov Dovid Stravchinsky.
The Interest Free Loan Society for Artisans and Clerks:
Leon Bekerman – chairman, Shmuel Adler, Felicia Gelblum, Moishe Salbeh, Soreh Zisman, Yakov Diament – secretary.

“Brother's Aid”
Itchele Bekerman – chairman, Leon Bekerman – vice, Y. Ayfer, L. Briliant, L. Kobriner, Yekhezkl Landoy, Yehoshua Birnboym, Sholem Diamnet, M. Ayzman and Zelig Fridman.

“HaZamir”: (Nightingale)
Leon Bekerman – chairman, Nosn Adler – vice, Ludvig Briliant – administrator, Palti Mushkatblit – treasurer, Yekhiel Frenkel – secretary, Moishe Bluman, Hershl Khvat, Y. Kushevnik, Yakov Fridman.

The Society for Business Employees:
Adolf Temerson – chairman, S. Korngold, Pinkhas Tzveyfus, Yudl Kushevnik, Ludvig Kobriner, Yulia Mitelshtat, Nosn Shtarker, Yehoshua Birnboym and Ludvig Briliant.

The Society for Education and Culture:
Karolina Adler – chairwoman, Maria Fider, Antonia Hertzberg, Anna Kolodner, Palti Mushkatblit, Anna Kankus, Leon Bekerman, Zigmund Kolodner, Maria Mushkatblit, M. Minsky, Henrik Rashkes and Adolf Temerson.

[Page 163]

“Interest Free Loan Society”

Translated by Janie Respitz

The Interest Free Loan Society was established in 1903 by the women: Felicia Gelblum, Soreh Zisman, Matilda Salbeh, Feyge Goldfeyn, Ruzha Shpayzman, Malka Roznbereg and Miriam Mushkatblit.

Three years later the society was officially approved. Its foundation capital was eight thousand five hundred ruble (including the two thousand ruble donated by Karolina and Shmuel Adler).

Around 500 small businesses and artisans benefitted from this aid society.

In the First World War the activities of this society were interrupted but they were renewed in 1918. At this time the “Joint” showed interest in the society and helped with 500 dollars.

In the year 1926-27 1,953 loans were distributed totalling 113 thousand zlotys. The following sat on the board: Yakov Diamant - chairman, Shmuel Eidelboym, Dovid Luxemburg, Shloime Tzitrin, Henekh Vayntroyb, Notteh Vaysman. On the supervisory committee: Yekhiel Frenkel, Mendl Horovitz, and Yosef Kenigsberg. On the loan commission: Leon Bekerman – chairman, Maria Mushkatblit – vice chairman, Shloime Tzitrin, Mordkhai Leyb Fishman, Feyge Goldfeyn, Moishe Roznboym, Ruzha Shpayzman.

It must be motioned there was also a Free Loan Fund on Glinitz and almost all societies had this type of fund.

In a report in “Radom Life”, July 10th 1938 the following complaint was made at the general meeting of the Interest Free Loan Society: “with the amount of 1,276 benefiting members and 134 donating members, barely 50 people came to the meeting.”

This was the 12th annual meeting. Among other items on the agenda they were supposed to give the yearly report and elect a new board of directors, committee and supervisory committee.

We learn from this report, that for over twelve years of activity, until this meeting, the Interest Free Loan Society distributed 14,551 loans for a total of 1,096,000 zlotys.

Only in the last cadence – year 1,475 loans were given totalling 125,000 zlotys.

Unfortunately we know very little about the report and who was present from the board and committees because all it said was:

“To the committee which has 9 people three new representatives came: Peysakh Goldberg, Avrom Yudl Flamenboym, Yakov Shafer. On the Revision commission, the existing members: Dovid Frenkel, and Arnold Rozenfeld, - added were Simkha Handelsman and (as a representatives) Peysakh Vaysbord and Avrom Khamnetovsky”.
At one of the meetings the chairman of the community suggested they do not break contact with the Jewish community council. The Jewish community council used to have three representatives on the board of the Interest Free Loan Society and today they have agreed to one. The fund is however at the Jewish community and has 11,000 zlotys.

The board member Gutman was opposed to this suggestion because from 1930 to 1936 the Jewish community council did not give and subsidies.

The chairman of the meeting, Shmuel Eidelboym added that in 1931 Yosl Kenigsberg was against leaving the Jewish community council which in the year 1937-38 gave 500 zlotys and during the entire period, 4,000 zlotys.

The Mutual Aid Society

Translated by Janie Respitz

This fund was opened at 10 Vitold Street and developed gradually to benefit of the poor in town. Over the last year 431 received loans totalling ten thousand zlotys. This is all thanks to the devoted work of Y. Bushatzky, Lifshitz, Moishe Leyb Rotenberg, and Dr. Vitonsky who are extravagant with their efforts to increase the capital and distribute loans. To achieve this goal is was decided: to recruit another few hundred members who will pay monthly dues.

“Radom townsmen living in America were interested in this activity and sent aid. However recently the aid was stopped and it is necessary to strengthen activity in Radom”. (“Radom Life”, July, 1939).

[Page 164]

Philanthropists and Benefactors

Translated by Janie Respitz


Nosnel Bekerman

Nosnel was the father of the well known Bekerman family. A man of charity, a father to orphans and supporter of widows. Jews and Christians in town and the surrounding area turned to him for help. He laid the foundation for the Jewish hospital. For sixty years he was the comfort and hope for the poor. He founded an aid fund and with this saved the needy from the hands of usurers.

Nosnel Bekerman helped build the synagogue and the House of Study and supported the Talmud Torah. He left twenty thousand ruble for charity which was to be distributed after his death. He died at age 95.

His children, the enlightened benefactors continued with their father's good deeds.


Ruven Bekerman (1834-1915)

He continued his father's philanthropy and built the largest institutions in Radom. He built the magnificent “Old People's Home” for which he left a huge amount for its upkeep in a fund. However, that fund was lost together with the Russian Government Bank where it was invested.

He was an intermediary in the positive sense and showed great interest in the field of education of the young generation, especially the misfortunate. Thanks to his investments, the Talmud Torah (which was founded by Reb Yisroel Frenkel) succeed to develop and it ensured its existence.

He was also concerned with trade schools and donated a large amount to the agrarian school in Tchenstokhov.

He participated in the second Zionist Congress in Basel and bought five hundred stocks in the Colonial Bank.

At the outbreak of the First World War he was in Switzerland and died in Zurich. A few years later his bones were brought to Radom and was buried with his parents in the family grave.

The nicest chapter of Ruven Bekerman's activity was his easing the suffering of the sick and poor in the city. He was their saviour. Despite all the interferences of the Russian government he did a lot in this field and his merits were great.

Ruven Bekerman also donated generously to non –Jewish institutions and therefore received the title of “Honourable Citizen of the Generations” from the Czarist government.

Among his finest accomplishments was the “Old People's Home” which he built to provide a home for old lonely people who did not have a roof over their heads or the means to live off. To achieve this he donated all his land with the small buildings at the end of Warsaw Street and built a large building, rare in that area, with all the modern facilities. He invested forty thousand gold ruble to ensure a fund to support the “Old People's Home”.


Itchele Bekerman

Nosnel's son and Ruven's brother, the founder of the “Firlay” quarter in Radom where he built industrial – enterprises: and oil factory, paint factory, nail factory, brick factory and a large mill, besides a large farm on that spot.

For the quality of his diversified production, he received domestic and foreign gold and silver medals and his name was known throughout Czarist Russia.

He donated a lot to support charitable institutions which his family founded and he participated in their campaigns.

Itche Bekerman had four sons: The engineer Leon (Shloime Yehuda), the judge Yozef, the engineer Piotr (Pinkhas) and the engineer Yakov.

Itchele (Yitzkhak) Bekerman died at 100 years old.


Engineer Leon Bekerman

He was his uncle Ruven's son in law. He headed the institutions which his philanthropic family built.

The engineer Leon Bekerman was one of the founders and head activist in “Hazamir” (the Nightingale), the Interest Free Loan Society and charitable institutions in town.

He was respected by all levels of society.

[Page 165]

The Judge Yuzef Bekerman

Born in 1860. He graduated from high school in Radom with a gold medal and graduated from the law faculty at Warsaw University in 1887. Then he went to Paris to study languages and history.

The restrictions in Czarist Russia did not permit him to practice law fro 21 years. He only began to practice law in 1905.

He also was occupied with literature and research. He excelled with a brilliant style and fluent eloquence in many languages. He headed the Riga Merchant's Bank in Radom and worked with legal issues more for the love of it than for money.

When Poland became independent Yuzef was chosen as a judge in the regional court and a member of the State Judicial Commission. His star shone and his honour was great.

His heart was alert to Jewish problems for which he often interceded. He did a lot for Jews and was proud of his origins.

He was offered the high position as head of the department of the Ministry of Justice in Warsaw on the condition he changed his religion. Judge Bekerman declined.

During the Pshityk pogrom and after the trials against Jews who dared to defend themselves, Judge Yuzef Bekerman, with all his strength and influence, defended the persecuted.

In the last years he did a lot for the “Old People's Home” which was officially registered in his family's name. He thought it should be handed over to the Jewish community council as well as the spacious place on Narutovitch street.

He did this so that none of the Bekerman inheritors could demand a portion of the estate which was used for communal purposes.

Before the Second World War he published many articles in the weekly “Tribune” in Radom dedicated to communal issues, legal and historic, where he revealed comprehension and expertise in these fields.

The German murderers killed him in the Jewish hospital which his family built when he was an old man, over eighty years old.


Engineer Piotr (Pinkhas) Bekerman

He continued with the philanthropic work of his well known family. He ran his father's factories in the “Firlay” industry.

On the eve of the First World War, this industrial centre with all of its land was sold to the Brams family and Piotr Bekerman settled in Warsaw. There he devoted a lot of time to community work and sat on the central committee to help Jews and on the board of the Jewish Colonization Society in Warsaw.

During this entire time he never lost contact with his hometown Radom and donated large sums to its institutions. He fought for the existence and independence of institutions which were established by his family and were in danger of being taken over by the city council or nationalized by the government.

His wife was the daughter of a rich man from Ostrolenka, Reb Nakhman Tikotchiner (the son in law of Professor Shimon Ashkenazi who was well known state and scientific circles in Poland).

Engineer Piotr Bekerman remained a devoted nationalist Jew until he died in Warsaw at an advanced age.


Shmuel Korman

When Shmuel Korman, Moishe Hersh the used clothes dealer's son, emerged from the narrow Blakharska Street and settled on the wide Lublin Street and became a respected manufacturer and businessman, he did not abandon his traditional ways. Every morning he was seen with his prayer shawl bag under his arm, walking to the large House of Study on Synagogue Street. He would arrive late for prayers because he said before you do something for the Creator, you must do something for people. He would visit a lonely sick person in a damp cellar room, or in an attic, to see what they needed and how he could help. This was not done only at the expense of the Master of the Universe, during the time to serve the Creator, but also in the middle of the day, during the busiest business hours, he would run around to rich men and inform them of the needy in town, in individual homes and institutions. He would run to the hospital and anywhere else his help was needed.

Shmuel Korman was a councillor on city council, elected from the United Jewish National Bloc. He was far from political shrewdness. All the “tricks” and “games” were foreign to him. Instead of giving speeches he would announce, in the simplest way, that something must be done to ease the suffering in town! He was the public messenger of the poor masses, for whom he worked his whole life with self –sacrificing devotion. He was very popular and respected by all.

[Page 166]

This simple man of the people and public messenger, the beloved and respected communal worker and interceder was taken from his congregation in 1932 at the age of 50. Almost everyone in town went to his funeral. Rich and poor, pious and secular came to show their last respects.

by L. Fishman

Mikhal Rikhtman

The poorest people lived on Mikva Street (ritual bath) between the Radomyanka River and Synagogue Street: water carriers, wagon drivers, market sellers, used clothes dealers, unskilled workers live with their families in single rooms. There, in the middle of this dire poverty stood the red brick house of Reb Meir Volf Richtman, where at night extra bright oil lamps lit up the large windows. On the Sabbath and holidays you could hear beautiful melodies sung by Meir Volf and his six sons.

One of the six was Mikhal who was lovingly called “Mekhele”. This man of the people and later, a communal leader was raised in this atmosphere.

When Yitzkhak Bialsky founded the Society to Spend the Night with the Sick, and the Society to Visit the Sick he noticed the young Mekhele and brought him to work for these institutions where Mikhal found a broad field of work which suited him. He threw himself into this work with heart and soul.

One of the most important tasks was to spend the night with a sick person to make things easier for his family. People from all levels of society took part in this good deed looking after people of all classes. This institution also distributed tools, instruments, medication and other means of aid. For many years Mikhal Rikhtman used his organizational talents to run this operation.

He was the organizer of the public entertainment which the Society to Spend the Night with the Sick organized in the old garden. The proceeds went toward the needs of the society.

At the outbreak of the First World War there were new tasks: aid for Jewish refugees who came to Radom naked and barefoot. The aid had to be large and quick: beginning with distributing bread and soup and ending with providing a roof over their heads. The refugees were settled in the House of Prayer, the large House of Study and some in the homes of local wealthy Jews. Dozens and dozens of men and women, from all circles, participated in this campaign, under the leadership of the devoted and experienced worker Mikhal Rikhtman. He was well received everywhere he went.

When a group of women led by Mrs. Mitlshtat founded a student dormitory for girls in the “Ezra” building called “Children's Education”, Mikhal Rikhtman was the only man there and oversaw the religious education.

All the years the orphanage existed, Mikhal Rikhtman was among the most active volunteers. The same in the “Ezra” society and the Jewish hospital. The doctors considered him one of their own because he was competent in medicine and could read prescriptions.

He was in contact with all the institutions which helped the poor and the sick. He organized Passover Seders for patients and together with Shmuel Korman collected “packages” for the sick poor. He worried about the needy also when they recovered, took part in distributing Passover necessities to the poor and supported Jews who were arrested and soldiers. All the reports and pictures of activities in the press in connection to help and charity in that period were connected to the name and accomplishments of Mikhal Rikhtman.

He was also multi talented. He read beautifully from the Torah and would lead prayers on the High Holidays in the Houses of Study of “Ezra”, The Society to Spend the Night with the Sick, the Orphanage, the Burial Society, “Mizrachi” and various Hasidic prayer houses. He was a board member of “Mizrachi” for many years and stood as a candidate in the elections for city council where he was elected by a majority twice.

His address at 7 Zatilna was popular among all the needy who would come to him even in the middle of the night. He welcomed everyone with a friendly smile and helped as much as possible.

Mikhal Rikhtman, the devoted activist, the “Emissary from Synagogue Street” did not participate in the Judenrat in the ghetto. He occupied himself with acts of loving kindness during those tragic days, until he was taken to the slaughter at Treblinka in August 1942.

His wife Rokhele, nee Altenberg, (a well known family in Warsaw) excelled with her kind heartedness and welcoming guests. Their beautiful and gentle daughter Khashke was the same.

From the whole family only their son Leybl survived. The praiseworthy character and deeds of his father shine upon him.

by L. Fishman


[Page 167]

Itamar Adler

Itamar, the son of Abish and Miriam lived in Warsaw until the First World War. He descended from big leather merchants on Franchishka Street. At the same time he did communal work. He was among the founders and activists of the large Old People's Home on Gurtchevska Street and was one of the founders and activists of the sanatorium for sick poor children at the spa in Tchekhovtchinek.

After the war when his wife died he moved to Radom and lived with his daughter (the wife of Moishe Adler, their relative, who had a tobacco store at 33 Zheromskiega Street. Moishe Adler was also the chairman of the Merchants Union after Zigman and a member of the regional office for business and industry in Sosnovietz).

At the end of the 1920s when the “Ezra” society was in a critical state, the leadership turned to him to become the director of the society. He was totally devoted to this work and thanks to him the activities broadened to help the needy with heating and warm food in the winter, with produce for the holidays and sending poor children to a spa in Busk.

He liked order and accuracy in his work and he brought about changes in how they collected money. He approached the wealthy to support the community visiting them personally a few times. He actually received respectable amounts from them which he divided among the needy in a dignified manner.

For years he headed the orphanage and old people's home and here too he excelled with his unrestricted devotion. The house was enclosed by an iron fence and a beautiful garden was planted.

Thanks to his influence, a prosperous Jew by the name of Tzukerman donated a piece of land in Busk to “Ezra” to build a sanatorium for poor patients.

Itamar Adler was respected by all levels of society.

At the outbreak of the Second World War his daughter died and he, a weak old man was forced to leave Radom to live with his other daughter in Ripin.

He was killed in the Holocaust.

by L. Fishman

Rayzl Den

We were neighbours of Rayzl Den. We lived at 9 Rinek and she lived at 7 Rinek. (Later she lived at 2 Mlechne). We were good neighbours, customers and good friends, and consequently we saw a lot and knew a lot. We saw regularly how ragged, tattered and hungry people would come to her house and leave with shoes and clothes, encouraged and with pots or packages of food…

Reb Avrom Lipeh Den was a tanner and worked in a leather factory. Rayzl, his woman of valour had a food store. Later she gave up the store and went into the leather business where she was successful. She set up factories and succeeded. They had a large house with many tenants who were mainly poor and did not pay rent. Those who did not have money for rent certainly did not have the money for other things as well. These people needed help. And who should help if not for the closest neighbour, the landlady herself?...

A Shoemaker lived there. She gave him a lot of work. He did not work for anyone else, only for Rayzl Den: he laid patches, hammered soles, and heels, sewed new shoes and boots for hundreds of poor people on Rayzl's order. She payed for everything.

During the First World War Jews were chased out of many towns and Radom was filled with refugees. Rayzl did not differentiate between locals or foreigners in need. She had everyone in her heart and welcomed everyone. She was particularly close to the homeless rabbis, the tossed around good Jews, and she supported them generously. She gave the rabbi from Kozhenitz a large apartment in her house and took care of all the needs of the rabbi and his household.

Every Thursday fishermen would come to her with tubs of live fish. Every week she bought a pood (16 kilos) of fish and sent it, in a dignified way to the poor. She would also carefully choose the best fish and send them to the rabbis. She did the same thing with meat, chicken, eggs and other products. Everyday her house looked like a covered market: women with baskets of onions, beets, carrots, apples, cherries, plums, butter, and cheese. Rayzl would examine the goods, bought them and announced how much and what should be sent to whom…

Before the first bit of aid arrived from America Relief, Rayzl Den opened a kitchen in her home which handed out around one hundred meals a day to the homeless refugees and local poor. Nobody left her house hungry. Rayzl herself stood in the kitchen and cooked the large pots of food.

Everyone came to Rayzl Den with their hardships and troubles. A poor boy was becoming Bar – Mitzcah, Rayz would buy him

[Page 168]

a pair phylacteries. If a poor girl was getting married, Rayzl would give the trousseau and prepare the wedding. Rayzl Den was the address of all orphans, widows, women in labour, the aged, and the sick who were in need of help.

When Rayzl was marrying off her daughter Gitele, she broke down walls and made a dance hall for the wedding. However, she immediately arranged for Torah scrolls so that after the wedding the hall could be converted into a House of Study. This is how she had her own House of Study in her home.

A widow and her daughter lived with her, a marriageable young woman who had a bit of a flaw, and another tenant with a son. Rayzl made the match, bought the clothes, bought a prayer shawl and right after her daughter's wedding made the wedding for this couple in the same dance hall. The bride wore her daughter Gitele's wedding dress and the wedding was as generous as her own daughter's.

People would say that Rayzl's family would claim:

“If God helps and one can, one must give, but in moderation!”
Rayzl would then respond:
“God gives me excessively. How ever much I give, He gives me even more. Who else's am I giving but mine?...
And the Almighty really gave a lot to her and her children, and to the extended Den family who were very wealthy people in town.

Rayzl made sure the boys who learned in her House of Study did not lack anything.

Rayzl Den was a beautiful shapely woman of mid height and wore a black wig. She was often compared to Temerl from Warsaw. Some said Temerl from Warsaw should be compared to Rayzl Den from Radom…Her husband, Reb Avrom Lipeh watched what she did carefully, her good deeds and boundless generosity. He himself was far from being an arrogant rich man. He was a handsome man with a red beard, dressed in traditional Jewish style with a cloth cap.

Along with the virtues and beauty of this family we must include the fact that their wealth did not prevent them from giving their children pure Yiddish names like: Mordkhai, Simkha, Yoshe, Yekhiel, Leybche, Yenkl, Gitele, Rokhele, Miriam and Feygele. They were all raised in the same yard and played with the poor children of their tenants.

“You should live a long life Rayzele!...” everyone wished her.
However this did not come to be. She was taken from this world during her best years. She was barely in her fifties. The entire town mourned her as orphans mourn a mother. Even the Poles mourned her as she spread her boundless goodness among them as well. Rabbis and distinguished Jews came to her funeral and gave eulogies as they would for the most important personalities. Rayzl Den was really one of the most magnificent female personalities in the history of Jews in exile.

The place where Rayzl and Avrom Lipeh Den's house once stood is now a heap of bricks and debris among hollow Jewish ruins. Their graves, like all graves at the Jewish cemetery were destroyed. The field was plowed over and there are no signs left from our beautiful past.

by Gitl Rozentzveyg – Farber / Missouri

Blimeh Rotenberg

She was the daughter of the important leather dealer from Kelts, Eliyahu Meir Khmielarzh and the wife of the industrialist Avrom Rotenberg.

Besides her energetic running of the business she was an active, devoted volunteer in all the charitable institutions and especially the orphanage and the old people's home which she supported with heating and footwear and every time the institution was in need, money.

She also helped individuals in an honourable manner.

Blimeh Rotenberg was penetrated with the national and Zionist idea. Every collection for funds began with her. She supported Zionist pioneer training and their emigration.

She herself dreamed of settling in the Land of Israel. Her eldest son Moishe, in 1919, was one of the “105”, the first group of pioneers after the First World War who embarked on the dangerous journey and reached the shores of the land.

She visited the Land of Israel three times. She built a house at 61 Maza Street, set up a business in Haifa for youngest daughter Bina and her son in law (where there was also merchandise from the Radom factory of sanitation products). Blimeh was preparing to emigrate and settle in the Land of Israel for good.

Unfortunately the Second World War broke out which put an end to all her plans.

Her son in law Bluman came to Poland on Business on the eve of the war, never managed to return and was killed there.

Blimeh, her husband Avrom, their eldest daughter Yokheved Zvikelsy, their daughter in law Frania and her children were murdered with all the other Radom martyrs.

When they were taken out of their factory “Krimilovsky” during the large military operation, she had the opportunity to hide in a stall. However, she decided to go with the rest, on the last road, from which no Jews returned…

by M.Sh.

[Page 169]

Dr. Ksavera (Dvoyre) Mulier

Born in 1881. Graduated high school with a gold medal in 1897. Received her doctorate in Switzerland in 1903.

Until the First World War she worked in the Jewish hospital in Radom and also served as the doctor in the factories in town as there was still no medical fund. During the war she was mobilized to the Association of Military Hospitals and travelled throughout Russia. She returned in 1918 and became the director of the Hospital for Infectious Diseases. She distinguished herself with devotion to the sick poor, especially sick pioneers who were doing their training in Radom.

She once contracted typhus and her life was in danger.

When the hospital switched from the city administration to the provincial administration Dr. Ksavera Mulier was dismissed from her post because she was Jewish. This is when she began to work in the general medical fund.

Her communal work began with the founding of the orphanage and gathering the lonely children in town and the surrounding area, of which there were many. She ran the old people's home and orphanage with love, remaining the whole time at the head of the administration. Until the day she left the city she gathered the best volunteers for the institution, men and women. She regularly awakened their interest and worried about sources of income. She was like a mother to these children.

In 1923 she was elected through the Jewish councilmen circle to the management of city council and she served this position with devotion for three years.

In 1935 Dr. Ksavera Mulier left Radom and emigrated to her sister in America. She had trouble adjusting to life there and in January 1937 she suddenly died of a heart attack.

by M.R.

Soreleh Zisman

She was called: Soreleh Soveh, in accordance with her first husband Gavriel Soveh. She was the daughter of Tovaleh Rotenberg, one of the well known charity workers in town. Soreleh Zisman was the founder and leader of the Interest Free Loan Society, the Aid Society for Pregnant Women and Sick Aid. She supported the needy with an open hand.

Together with Brayndl Nayman, Soreleh Zisman bought the building for the Talmud Torah.

Her second husband was Zvi Yitzkhak (Hershl) Zisman, an Alexander Hasid, a great scholar and one of the most important men in town.

The well known Yiddish poet Dovid Eynhorn married their daughter Gutche in 1901.

Soreleh Zisman was an important leather merchant, one of the biggest in town.


Khaiml Ovadia's and his Wife Dishkeh

He was a learned Hasid who everyone respected. He was completely unmaterialistic and radiated with the light of other spiritual worlds. He thought eating and sleeping were a waste of time. That time could be used for a little more learning, praying and serving the Creator. He didn't even want to become a rabbi as it would disrupt his behaviour.

If he were to tear himself away from learning it would only be for doing good deeds and fulfilling commandments such as receiving guests or ransoming prisoners. He actually built a dormitory for Jewish travellers in Radom at a proper level so people would have a place to eat and sleep. He provided Jewish soldiers with kosher food and arranged for shared meals on the Sabbath and holidays with meat, fish wine and Challahs. Jewish scholars served and made everyone happy.

His holiest task was to care for Jews who were arrested. He brought them prayer shawls, phylacteries, prayer books and kosher food daily.

He spoke to arrested criminals with words of morality, proverbs and stories so they will show remorse and repent. Many of them cried.

There were however some Jews who were held without passports and were taken in a procession of prisoners under escort. Khaiml Ovadia's did everything he could to free them.

He would often be seen alone with women, righteous women, carrying pots to the arrested. On the Sabbath eve they would take from the finest and on the Sabbath bring Cholent (Sabbath Stew), noodle pudding, Kishke (intestines), and strudel. He had a permanent permit to enter the jail whenever he wanted. Every Passover he would hold a Seder in the large prison for the prisoners.

Unfortunately Khaiml Ovadia's was not blessed with a long life. He died from typhus when he was 47 years old. The Jewish stores closed for his funeral. Rabbi Traystman delivered the eulogy. Everyone who knew him mourned.

His wife Dushkeh, Bunem the ritual slaughterer's daughter was left a young widow with orphans. When she was young she was one of the brightest girls in town: she was pretty, smart, had a good sense of humour and was well read. In 1924 at the age of 64 she arrived in the Land of Israel to her sons and daughter. She, the daughter of

[Page 170]

the enlightened Jew and Zionist Bunim the ritual slaughterer, was enraptured with the land and the life there. She wrote letters to friends in Radom telling everyone to come. She visited all the holy places and was proud of the pioneering work of her family. They called her “Dushkeh the pioneer”.

She was 87 years old when night, after the first penitential prayers, she fell into eternal sleep.

By M.R.

Moishe Fuks and Rokhele Hokhman

Moishe Fuks was the secretary of the committee of “15”, which would distribute the aid received from the American Relief. He put together a list of all the institutions and individuals, respectable poor who were short of money and would not come with an outstretched hand. Moishe Fuks and Rokhele Hokhman would go to these homes, to the cellars and attics, have an intimate conversation and give them the support without embarrassment. Moishe also appealed to the rich men in Radom, first of all to the 15 on the committee, to contribute just like their brothers in America who are working hard there in the shops. Mordkhai Den was the first to contribute, then Korover from the warehouse at 1 Lublin Street and then others.

Because of Moishe Fuk's suggestion, it was decide to organize Passover Seders at the orphanage, old people's home and the hospital. They distributed bottles of wine, macaroons, and oranges and celebrated the Seder until late at night. By the time he got home his family was sleeping.

Moishe Fuks was one of the founders of the Aid Fund. He wrote reports to America, presented all the accounts and handled the correspondence about the x-ray machine for the hospital.

During the day he worked at his workshop at 4 Rvaynske Street. All the needy knew the address and came for help: one needed a doctor, another a prescription, an intervention or money to get a patient into the hospital, or a lonely old man in the old people's home. Moishe would leave his work in the workshop and ran to prevail.

Moishe was the son of Kadosh Yekusiel Zisman Fuks, a God fearing Jew and a rich respected merchant on Glinitze. His mother, the pious, gentle woman, ran an honourable Jewish home. When the Cossacks came to Radom during the First World War and saw this God Fearing Jew with the patriarchal beard, they tied him to a wagon andwhipped the horses. This victim was dragged behind the wagon sputtering blood in t he streets.

Later, when they looked for Kadosh's body to bring it for a Jewish burial, they only found his limbs and pieces of flesh. This is the martyr's death this father faced. His house was destroyed.

And his son, the devoted, kind community worker suffered a martyr's death during the Second World War.

Moishe Fuks was the secretary, but not for a salary, God Forbid. Everyone knew that his hands, where a lot of communal monies passed through, were as pure and clean as his honest heart. This is how Rokhl Hokhman worked as well even though she was not on the committee of 15. This modest women did what she did for the poor as a good deed.

Both shared the fate of our six million.


Yisroelke Goldberg

He came from Shidlovietz in 1933 and opened a tannery in Mordkhai Mendl Naydek's factory. The tannery prospered and by 1937 many Jews were working there. Their “proletarian brothers” were jealous and the Polish “socialists” wanted to remove the Jewish workers from this Jewish enterprise. At this time Yisroel Goldberg showed a lot of courage, boldness and Jewish national consciousness and fought against the “socialist” anti – Semitic aspirations and did not permit Jewish workers to be removed from his enterprise.

Yisroel Goldberg came from a Hasidic – learned family and was a passionate Kozhenitz Hasid. Every holiday, he and his son Nekhemiye would send money to the honourable poor.

During the Hitler days he took many homeless into his home.

He hid the Vork Rabbi and his whole family in his house until the deportation.

On Fridays he would prepare baskets of bread (when bread meant life) and distributed it among the hungry in honour of the Sabbath.

When a typhus epidemic broke out in the small ghetto, Yisroelke set up a kitchen in his yard, and with the help of Mordkhai Gertner of blessed memory, and his wife Adela (who stood on her feet all day and cooked) as well as the writer of these lines, gave out warm food to the sick.

His entire family was killed. Yisroel Goldberg was cold bloodily murdered on the road to Volanov – Opotchne. This was during the deportation when the victims were taken by foot from Radom to Tomashov, Auschwitz.

by A. Zilberberg


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