by Yonah Ben Yakov
Translated by Janie Respitz
Our Female Pioneers
It is difficult to ascertain who the founder of Hechalutz (The Pioneer) in Radom was in 1917, but there is no doubt Shmuel Grinshpon was among the most active. Among the active members were: Zvi Dantziger, Moishe Stashevsky, Khaim Taykhman, Dagani (Korman), Meir Gutman, Shteynman, Landau, Yokheved Tzuker (Yakubson), Bronshteyn, Zahava Tenenboym (Merchavi), Pshititzka, Yekhiel Frenkel, Yitzkhak Vaysbord, Pinkhas Fogelman, Moishe Luxenburg, Dov Diament and Moishe Rozentzveyg (Shoshani). In later years, Moishe Shadmi, Moishe Holtzman, Yonah Ben Yakov (Tordzhe Fogelman) also joined the management of Hechalutz.
The awakening of Zionist activity among school children also took place in the Women's School, whose director was Stefan Sultik. Outside of school they studied Hebrew and bible with the teachers Sholem Diament, Yekhiel Frenkel, Taykhman, Golombovsky, Broynshteyn and others. They edited and published a journal, raised money for the Jewish National Fund and gave performances about life in the Land of Israel based on the stories by Moishe Zayfman who returned during the First World War. Zayfman himself was the director. The rehearsals took place in our home. The members of the ensemble were: Polyia Diament (now Shtiler), her sister Lola, who was later killed in the ghetto with her husband Salbeh, Dorkeh Golembyovskya(now Lemberg), the writer of these lines and her sister Anka. Members of the Christian intelligentsia also attended these performances and a lot of money was collected for the Jewish National Fund.
After the emigration of the first group of pioneers the girls also began to prepare to emigrate, finishing the agricultural course at the farm in the Kaptur Forest. This is where their emigration truly began. Among others, Dorkeh Golembyovska and the writer of these lines joined the Group of 105.
Upon our arrival in the Land of Israel we realized how important our training was. Without it we would not have been able to adapt to the difficult life at that time. This was 1920 when events broke out and there was unemployment. Girls suffered more than the boys, doing the same unskilled labour with shovels and crow bars, building roads and buildings. Our first job was building the brick factory Silicot near the Ohel Theatre. We lived in tents at a place that today is called Mugrabi. To get from there to our work place we had to climb hills of sand. Dvorkeh and I were the only two girls from Radom that worked at Silicot. We clenched our teeth and kept up appearances. Our girls also worked for some time for the Labour Division on the Tiberius highway, chopping stones and later at Givat Shaul in Jerusalem building the road to Beit Hakerem. The difficult work, hunger and hardship strengthened our characters however the swamps in Hadera and the malaria seriously affected the health of the daughters of Radom.
by Dvorah Banker Grushkvevitch, Kfar Malal
Translated by Janie Respitz
This was just before the Balfour Declaration. The Daughters of Zion had the task to educate girls of all social classes. We also helped settle the refugees who were chased out the border cities of the Ukraine and Lithuania, but our main goal was: to prepare Jewish girls to emigrate and lead a productive life in the Land of Israel. We arranged Hebrew and sewing courses. The girls organized evenings to raise money for national funds. We were not satisfied simply with Radom and took our work to the surrounding towns.
The committee of Daughters of Zion was comprised of: Rayshl Ornshteyn, Feygeh Rotman, Naomi Birnboym of blessed memory and me.
At that time, Dovid Grushkevitch came from the Land of Israel to visit family. He was released from the Jewish Legion where he served during the time of Gallipoli. When he proposed to me he also described for me the difficult life in the Land of Israel, particularly for a woman in a village. Nevertheless I accepted and a week after our wedding we immigrated and settled in Kfar Malal which was then called Ein Chay. The entire region which today is populated by thousands of families was desolate and deserted. A few months later we lived through an Arab attack and 22 of our friends, former soldiers in the Jewish Legion staved them off.
We had a difficult life. I contracted malaria, gave birth to a child and lived in a tent. Later, we moved to a hut with a clay floor. Years passed before we worked to obtain and calmer, more secure existence.
But I was happy with my chosen life's journey.
Other new immigrants were: Yakov Grushkevitch with his wife and son Zvi; Miriam Shpayzman, Khane Vaysman, Rivka Ratchimora, Zlateh Shotland - Sher; the praise worthy long time Zionist activists Abba Davidzon and Mordkhai Teitelboym and their families. Meir Zilberberg and Berish Tzemberkovitch came as tourists.
Rivka Ratchimora, the wife of Zvi Katz was killed tragically on Friday, the fourth interim day of Sukkot (September 29th 1961). Her funeral took place in Tel Aviv on Sunday, Hoshanah Rabah.
The Pioneer Fund
The united committee of the Pioneer Fund included all the Zionist organizations in Radom as well as the artisan and merchant unions and other societies. The mass meeting was attended by the editor Yosef Heftman and the lawyer Movshovitch. A fundraiser was organized for the Pioneer Fund. They also organized courses in Hebrew, Jewish History, political economics and gymnastics.
Once the majority of pioneers immigrated the pioneer organization was weakened and between the fourth and fifth Aliyot the initiative was taken over by the central Pioneer organization Hechalutz. Pioneers began to arrive in Radom from border towns. In 1915 a group from the town Petrikov near Minsk arrived led by Bogin, Briskman and Hokhman. A second group came from Volhynia and Polesia in 1917. They worked in various factories while training as pioneers. That group was comprised of 50 members.
Kibbutz Three Vs
The largest pioneer training Kibbutz in Radom was the Three Vs, (Warsaw (Varshe) Volhynia and Vilna), and later changed its name to Hagalil. It was founded in 1929 and grew to a 400 members who worked in different factories, mainly tanneries. They resided in the beer factory Zabiyela on Mletchna Street and later in the old people's home which was on the road to Pirlay.
The following sat on the Kibbutz committee: Moishe Bakman, Mendl Khayt and Yisroel Shtatviner. Later they were joined by Olga Levin and Rokhl Khmielarzh from WIZO.
In the archive of the Zionist committee in Radom we found a letter from the Hechalutz central office in Warsaw where we read:
To Mr. Yekhiel Frenkel, Radom.In 1925 a pioneer farm was founded in Radom by Hechalutz on land belonging to the Birnboym family (at the end of Kushnitzka Street). This was headed by: Zvi Dantzinger (instructor), Zev Korman, the Gutman brothers, Goldshteyn, Pshititzka, Khaya Ruzhanna and others who emigrated a year later with the fourth Aliyah.
Due to the difficult situation of the Kibbutz in your town we have decided to organize a committee to help with loans to provide food, heat for the winter and help find jobs. We are turning to you as a person with great influence to help create this committee for the Kibbutz as we are faced with this great responsibility. We do not have the right to neglect our youth especially because we are dealing with loans and not donations. Once the committee is formed we ask you to remain in regular contact.
In the Radom Newspaper from May 1925 we find a reportage about Yitzkhak Grinboym's visit to the farm and the reception he received:
On Saturday morning the entire area around the farm was filled with people. A welcome gate was erected and decorated with pictures of Dr. Herzl and Brenner. The Polish and Zionist flags waved.[Page 197]
When the guest arrived, accompanied by Misters Frenkel and Lesht and the representatives from the Hechalutz committee, everyone applauded and sang Hatikva.
Zvi Dantzinger greeted the important guest in the name of all Radom Pioneers and stressed that Grinboym was the only leader of the Zionist organization who valued the work of the pioneers and appreciated the importance of the pioneer movement in the building of the Land of Israel.
In his response, Mr. Yitzkhak Grinboym stressed the dangers that face disorganized immigration. He said that although the waves of the fourth Aliyah brought a lot of foam,
it has not weakened the stream of pioneer immigration that is building the land under difficult conditions and is preparing the soil for new immigrants.There is correspondence about the third Aliyah in the Radom Newspaper from March 1925:
Our guest called on the youth to join the ranks of the pioneer movement and switch to productive work.
The pioneers from Radom who emigrated in 1918 and were trained by Khaim Rozenzveyg (today his name is Ben Menachem and is the manager of the Tel Aviv post office), the lawyer Zvi Vardi and Zvi Rozenblum, were guards who educated the core of the group 105. They settled in Degania Aleph, in Gan Shmuel and some continued with their education at the Herzliya Gymnasia. During the events in Jerusalem and Jaffa they took up defence positions and played an active role in protection Jewish lives and property.The immigration of a large group of pioneers was mentioned the same newspaper in April 1925: among the immigrants were the artisans Korman and Cohen with their families and the librarian from the Zionist library Bilander. The train station was very crowded with people who came to see them off.
Among others, the following are in Gan Shmuel: Banek Hoykhboym, Yekhiel Golombyovsky, and Tobkeh Fogelman (now Ben Yakov). In Gnigar; Goldfarb Zhahvi and in Ein Harod, Yitzkhak Vaysman. His sister Khana Vaysman recently arrived. She was the leader of Hashomer in Radom.
by Yisroel Grintz
Translated by Janie Respitz
In 1932 the Young Mizrachi group in Radom founded a training Kibbutz. Among the founders were: Borukh Nayman, Khaim Hokhman, and Yisroel Grintz. Members of the Mizarachi committee in town helped: Dovid Sova, Itamar Gurfinkl, Yakov Kleynman, Yehuda Gustinsky, Mikhal Rikhtman and Tuviya Klempner. The following were among the first members of the Kibbutz: Nokhem Shulmeister, Khonen and Khaye Kirsh (today in Israel). At first they received the Mizrachi locale on Rynek and later when the amount of pioneers increased and the apartment was crowded, they took over the residence of Zelde (the daughter of Reb Aron) Fridman at 1 Zhitniya.
In the beginning the Kibbutz did unskilled labour like chopping wood and ice but soon the members began to work in the factories, especially tanneries. The girls worked in the local Halva factory. All the members worked and soon there were not enough workers on the Kibbutz which was now recognized by the Land of Israel office in Warsaw and was named Kibbutz Mohliver.
The Jewish industrialists were surprised by the industriousness of the religious Kibbutz members and the demand for them was great. Pioneers from all around Poland and religious Kibbutzim from other cities knew that Radom was the city of bread and they came to us to find work.
The movement grew and we rented a large space with four large rooms on 25 Mletchna Street where we increased our cultural work. We organized Friday night Sabbath programs as well as courses in Hebrew, bible and Talmud. Members came with greater and lesser educations: graduates from the Vilna Teacher's Seminar and graduates from various universities. There were also pharmacists. The outstanding pharmacists were Miriam Komisar from Sarna and Leah from Augustov. They spoke and gave lectures in Hebrew. Miriam taught Hebrew and bible.
We also organized symposiums with other Zionist parties like Hashomer Hatzair and Betar. The central office of Mizrachi Pioneers in Warsaw occasionally sent us respected members who helped us with our cultural and organizational work headed by Shloyme Skurtzovsky of blessed memory. The members of the Kibbutz varied in age: from 16 20 years old. The youngest was Yakov Grintz from Ostrov.
Members of this Kibbutz were later founders of The Religious Worker in the Land of Israel, like Sh. Rudl and others.
Among our most active members were: Yehoshua Grintz, Leybl Rikhtman, Avrom Goldberg, commander of The Religious Guard and Leybl Hirshnhorn.
We read the following in the newspaper Tribuna from April 1939:
At the opening of the new Kibbutz Breishit from the Torah and Work Movement the following spoke: in the name of the Kibbutz, Shulamis Birnboym, Shloyme Flatau. In the name of the Jewish community council the chairman Yoyne Zilberberg, and in the name of Mizrachi, Mikhal Rikhtman.[Page 198]
In the name of the General Zionists, Sh. Tzuker and in the name of the Revisionists, Lesht, in the name of editors of Radom Kielce Life, M. Hertz. Other speakers were Mr. Radzinsky from Warsaw in the name of the central office of the Torah and Work movement.
There was also a Kibbutz Bechazit in Radom (from the Shomer Hatzair). They had 100 pioneers from all over Poland as well as pioneer refugees from Germany.
by Fela Burshteyn Kimchi
Translated by Janie Respitz
Masada was the organization from the student youth of Radom. It was founded in 1929 by a small group of friends, students in a small school. However, with time it grew and attracted intellectual youth. We held a live newspaper every Friday night and it was attended by hundreds of supporters and guests. Our editor Avrom Rozenberg was very popular. Masada was active in many areas and held a respectable position in fundraising. Assimilated parents frowned upon their children's activities and in the Christian schools there were often conflicts with the anti Semitic teachers who were opposed to their Jewish students belonging to Jewish national organizations.
In 1932 (after Meir Grosman split from Ze'ev Jabotinsky), we joined The Movement for a Jewish State. People joined us from many different circles. The youth movement Brit Knaim was formed and we supported it.
Ruven Adler, Lola Frenkel and the writer if these lines were on the member's committee of Masada. Today they are in Israel.
by Dr. Y. Grinitz, Jerusalem
Translated by Janie Respitz
To a certain extent one can say the religious Zionist movement was born in Radom. It is an historic fact which is not properly stressed. Rabbi Shmuel Mohliver began his great Zionist activity in Radom. From there he went to Lemberg to meet with the Barons Rothschild, Montague and Ginsburg and the leaders of All of Israel are Friends. Rabbi Mohliver, who according to Herzl, was the first city Zionist who was also the first founder of the Centre of Religious Nationalist Propaganda to Settle in the Land of Israel. In accordance to a suggestion by Reb Avrom Yakov Slutzky, the centre was called Mizrachi, a shortened version of Merkaz Ruchani (spiritual centre). This name accompanied the religious Zionists for many years.
Rabbi Mohliver also laid the foundation stone for the Lover of Zion movement in Radom, whose students and friends, Reb Yisroel Frenkel, Reb Sholem Diament, Reb Bunim Tzuker and the Talmudic scholar Reb Mordkhai Vaysman continued to develop and broaden the movement. Although in essence it was a religious movement, it reached out to everyone willing to build the Land of Israel.
According to Hatzfira dated the 28th of Elul 1914, Rabbi Yehuda Leyb Zlotnik (secretary of Mizrachi in Poland) came to Radom to help establish a colony in the Land of Israel named for Dr. Yekhiel Tchlenov. The rabbi spoke to thousands in the large synagogue and in the auditorium of the Russian high school. The enthusiasm was great. Men and women took off their jewelry and donated it to the cause. In another gathering in the auditorium of Ezra they collected thousands of kronen.
However, then came the time of ideological differences which resulted in the creation of separate parties and this affected the ranks of the Mizrachi organization as well.
On the 17th of Tevet 1918, Rabbi Y. Y. Rappaport and Y. L. Shcheransky came to Radom representing the central office. At a meeting in the large House of Study they laid the foundation for Mizrachi in our city. At this meeting shekels were sold,
national religious propaganda was distributed and money was raised to purchase two dunams of land in the Land of Israel. The following were elected to the temporary committee: Moishe Eizenberg, Dovid Luxemburg, Yitzkhak Grin, Borukh Nayman and Mordkhai Pshitizky. They ran the propaganda campaign in religious circles and prepared for the large meeting which took place after the Sabbath on the 25th of Tevet 1919. It was opened by Rabbi Yishaye Zlotnik. Rabbi Mendl Vayngurt was elected chairman. The activity report was read by Yitzkhak Grin.
The new committee was comprised of: Rabbi Vayngurt, Rabbi Zlotnik, Yitzkhak Grin, Yekhezkl Roznboym, Khaim Braver, Dovid Luxemburg, Berish Veergin, Eliezer Finkelshteyn, Borukh Nayman, Dovid Goldfarb, Mordkhai Pshitizky, Yehuda Blatman, Shmuel Aron Naydik (now in Israel), Yosef Ziskind, Reb Braver and Khaim Hokhman.
Zionism in Poland, especially religious Zionism was blooming. Rabbis and scholars flowed to the movement and Radom was considered one of the strongest Zionist centres in Poland. Practically the entire Radom committee attended the second national conference of Mizrachi. The association of Young Mizrachi was also founded as an autonomous group. At the regional conference in Nissan 1919, Radom occupied first place in cultural work, the national fund and issues of women's organization.
For a time their work was carried out in the Ezra auditorium. They finally got their own locale (a large space with a few rooms) which they rented at 9 Revinska Street where we opened a library and offered evening courses in Hebrew. Our first librarian was our chainman Rabbi Zlotnik and later according to this order: Yisroel Shatvayner, Yisroel Grintz, Yehoshua Grintz and Leybl Rikhtman. At first the library was purely Hebrew. However, in time, readers began to request books in Yiddish and other languages so the librarians bought books and expanded the library. Besides fiction, there was a great interest in scientific works. In recent years we acquired valuable rabbinic books left to us by the great scholar Reb Mordkhai Vaysman.
During the time of the well known Kestenberg Conflict a strange thing happened: the government confiscated our premises and took it for themselves. For two years the movement did not have an address and our work was done in the private homes of our leaders. When the large fourth Aliyah began a new location was rented thanks to our members Yehuda Gustinsky and Borukh Nayman in a building owned by Motl Tzimbolist at 10 Rynek.
The leaders of Mizrachi in Radom were well established wealthy men and scholars like Reb Nokhem Dovid Luxemberg and Eliezer Finkelshteyn (vice president); the last was a man of culture, he knew Hebrew and for a period of time represented Mizrachi on the city council; Yakov Kleynman (chairman in 1933-34) published in Hatzfira under the pseudonym Ner Yakov and Emes L' Yakov; Itamar Gurfinkl (vice chairman and active volunteer); Rabbi Zlotnik, about whom we will write separately; Mendl Taykhman who at the same time helped the Kibbutz of Hashomer Hatzair. Also active were: Dovid Sava, Yehuda Gustinsky, the ritual slaughterer Shmarya Berman, Tuviya Klempner, Yoel Kleynman, Yoel Levy Kalmus, Hershl Gutman, Yoyne Zilberberg (the last chairman of the Jewish community council, vice chairman of the Jewish city council members and well known community worker) and Mikhal Rikhtman, long serving committee member, member of city council and respected communal worker.
The years 1924 1929 were years of development of Young Mizrachi in Radom. Most of the active members were sons of wealthy well learned men. They were young men who studied in Yeshiva. Among them were Bilander, Koyfman, Naydik, and Goldfarb. These were enlightened young men who strove for education, knowledge and a productive life. They found validity in the Mizrachi idea. The slogan The Land of Israel for the People of Israel According to the Torah of Israel opened a broad horizon and answered a lot of questions. The Torah Work ideology which demanded self realization also provided answers for the socialist productivity problem.
These young men devoted heart and soul into the work of the movement, began courses in training and Hebrew as well as practical work for building the Land. When immigration was a possibility, the first to immigrate were Dovid Bilander, one of the active Young Mizrachi members who later was among the founders of Kfar Khitin[Hattin] and the Mizrachi Worker's Movement in the Land of Israel. The members Yisroel Shtatvayner, Yisroel and Yehoshua Grintz were for many years secretaries of the local Jewish National Fund commission in which Khaim Hokhman was a presidium member. In general, the members of Young Mizrachi excelled in fund raising campaigns, especially in the Houses of Study and Hasidic prayer houses.
There were cultural activities: parties Friday evening to welcome the Sabbath; courses in Talmud, bible and Hebrew; newspapers of the movement were distributed; the Mizrachi library was expanded. Yisroel Grintz was delegated as editor of Radom- Kielcer Life. He was also a trustee in the Mizrachi central office in Warsaw to assign candidates for excursions to the Land of Israel which in fact meant: Aliyah (immigration). In the regional conferences of Mizrachi and Young Mizrachi, besides those already mentioned, the following were active:
Borukh Nayman, Motl Pines and Peysakh Kirshberg. Also active were: Khaim Yidl Blatman, Y. Kafer, Aron Bomzetzer, Ziskind, Margolis, Moishe Benet, Khaim Hokhman, Shmelke Akerman, Yekhiel Braver and others.
The following devoted members joined in the 1930s: the brothers Bunim, Dovid, Moishe and Shmuel Kirshberg (only Bunim was able to immigrate, the other three were murdered), Ezriel Varkhivker, Shmuel Hokhman, Moishe Perl, Shmelke Konar, Shloyme Frayman, Dovid Pines, Borukh Korapiol, Dovid Zaydenverger, Moishe Eisznberg, the brothers Avrom and Laybl Tzuker, Moishe Krishtol, the brothers Leybl and Moishe Morgenshtern, Yosef Sherman, Leybl Hershnhorn (Leybl Magid's) and others. Young Mizrachi in Radom, before the Holocaust had two hundred members.
Members of Young Mizrachi from 1932 -1935 founded the Mizrachi Pioneer. The majority of the members participated in pioneer training. The leaders included Yosef Sherman and his youngest brother. Shloyme Rodal was very influential as one of the founders of the Religious Worker's Movement in Israel.
The religious women's organization Bruria was founded in 1930 by a representative of the Torah Work Centre, Feyge Anglister. Some of the first active members were: Sheva Aylboym chairwoman, Khaye Grintz, Elelntzveyg, Klempner, Korman, Zagdansky and Giltele Roznblum.
Bruria worked together with Hashomer Hadati and Tzam on Zionist and cultural activities.
Hashomer Hadati (The Religious Guard)
This religious scout organization was founded in 1933 by the following members: Avrom Goldfarb, Zvi Peysakh Rozenblat, Leybl Rikhtman and Berl Gutman.
This was one of the most active youth movements in town with more than one hundred members, boys and girls, who wore special scout uniforms. On Lag Ba Omer and other national holidays they would organized excursions outside the city as well as symposiums with other youth organizations.
The offered courses in Jewish History, Talmud and the Zionist movement. Their members worked diligently for the Jewish National Fund and many prepared to emigrate. Unfortunately this was not realized.
Mizrachi and the Torah Work Movement operated a school called Yavne. The director was Yakov Shteyn. The school was on Kilinsky Street and had a good faculty. Later on the director of the school was Yakov Kleynman.
The House of Prayer
At the Mizrachi locale (10 Rynek) there was always a House of Study. Those who led the prayers were: Nokhem Dovid Luxemberg, Yakov Kleynman, Mordkhai Pshititzky, Mikhal Rikhtman, and often, the ritual slaughterer Henekh Hertz.
by Yisroel Gertner, Lawyer
Translated by Janie Respitz
The majority of the members of our Radom movement were killed. The few survivors left our city years before the war or as soon as the Germans arrived and they also did not know what our movement experienced up until and during the Holocaust. After 25 -30 years if is difficult to write about the history of one of the finest branches of our movement in Poland and about this beautiful period in the history of our people. We lack material, documents and exact information about active members and their activities.
The Covenant of Trumpeldor (Betar)
The Covenant of Trumpeldor (Betar)
During the interim days of Sukkot, 1924, the Hashachar organization was founded in Radom, which was the third organization after Warsaw and Lodz. Among the founders: Moishe Fridman, Moishe Ratshimora, Gutman and Zelig Sobelman. During the split, many switched to Hashomer Hatzair.
The first work was carried out in the field across from the military camp. Not having permission from the government, Hashachar met in the locale of the Zionist organization and was under its supervision. Hashachar was a youth movement which received a scout military education. It leaders were Noyekh Roznboym and his assistant, Akiva Knobl.
The leader of our group was Moiseh Sandel and after he emigrated, Yosef Rutman. When Sandel returned he became leader again for a short time. Our group was now called Hashachar Brit Trumpeldor and our work broadened. The head commander was the lawyer Bibring and the leader of our group was Eliezer (Ludvig) Gutshtat. He was shot after the war by Polish hooligans in Radom. All two hundred members were preparing to immigrate.
In those years the Zionist organization exerted pressure on Hashachar to integrate into its newly founded youth organization. Having no choice, the members of Hashachar joined but at the general meeting they formed an opposition to ensure the continuation of their independence.
During the elections for the Zionist conference when the central committee was made up of members from Et La Banim and Yitzkhak Grinboym was in the opposition hand in hand with the Revisionists, the lawyer Salbe negotioated in the name of El Hashomer with the Revisionists, to create a common administrative body. Each side was promised an equal amount of mandates and the common administration was created. The Revisionists sent two representatives: the lawyer Elkhanan Levin and Yisroel Soveh.
Soveh was nominated in 1927 as commander of our group as well as the delegate of the Jewish National Fund. At the time, Betar collected 2,000 zlotys, the largest amount collected from all the groups. They also did very nice cultural work and thanks to the initiative of Yosef Rotman, a library was founded. There was also a division for school children called Masada. They rented a separate premises with a few rooms where they held Hebrew evening courses and there was also a reading room.
The Radom group organized other groups in the region. In 1928 we had our first regional meeting for all the commanders from the Kielce region which was also attended by the new head commander A. Propes.
In 1929 they organized the first summer camp in a village near Konsk. The members of Betar organized a propaganda campaign to recruit new members. The Radom group was popular throughout the region and many towns and cities turned to them for help. After the events in the Land of Israel we organized a demonstration with black flags which was chased away by the police.
The same year a Betar orchestra was created thanks to the initiative of Yisreol Soveh and Mordkhai Gertner. To achieve this goal a patronage was created by Yekhiel Frenkel, Yisroel Lesht and Mordkhai Leyb Fishman. Through a fundraising campaign in the Radom Kielce Life 925 zlotys were collected which was used to buy the first instruments for the first Jewish orchestra in Radom. At first they hired a music teacher from the Polish military. Later it was conducted by Professor Gisser and at open concerts by Yosef Levin who lives now in Israel.
In 1930 Mr. Soveh moved to Warsaw where he was elected to the high command. His place in Radom was taken over by Mordkhai Gertner, who did a lot for the movement in Radom.
In 1933 they organized an instructor's course. The first member of Betar to go to the Land of Israel was Yosef Rozntzveyg and today he lives in Petach Tikva.
Thanks to our members A. Berman, Z. Sobelman, A. Levental, and Yitzkhak Gurfinkl the library grew and had hundreds of books.
On the 12th of October 1930, the Betar flag was dedicated in the Korso auditorium in front of a large crowd. There were representatives on stage from all communal organizations and the demonstration made an impression. That same year the head of Betar came to visit and he hammered a golden nail into our flag. Every year Betar would organize impressive memorial evenings honouring Dr. Herzl and Yosef Trumpeldor. At the first national conference in Warsaw (with 2,500 participants), Radom sent 80 young people, our orchestra and 200 members from surrounding towns under the leadership of Mordkhai Gertner, Mordkhai Danzinger and Yosef Rotman.
On the 15th anniversary of the Jewish Legion a special publication was published. Hundreds of Betar members came to the gathering which lasted three days. The events ended with the laying of a wreath on the tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The procession was led by our orchestra. There were sports competitions. Our commander Yisroel Gertner organized an instructor's course for 28 members of Betar.
In 1933 we enlisted in the 72nd Regiment the first
Jewish P. V. division of a few hundred men. They received instructors and weapons. Around 80 boys and girls trained in special auditoriums of the P. V. led by Vayntroyb, Rotman and Epshteyn. Thanks to the initiative of Shloyme Khayt, a reserve division was formed which grew into the Brit Hachayil. (Covenant of the Soldier).
In 1934 the Jewish Sanitary Division of the Red Cross was founded. 60 of our members completed courses in First Aid. Some of them worked in the Jewish hospital. The director of the group was Nosn Fridman. There was a drama club directed by Z. Sobelman who performed The Life of Yosef Trumpeldor, At the Well and others plays and they visited the province.
In 1934 Yisroel Gertner was nominated as commander of our group. Other leaders were: Yekhiel Puterman, Yosef Levin, Khanokh Ornshteyn, Yair Vaynrib, and Yerakhmiel Margolis. They began free evening courses which were attended by all members. In accordance to a command from the high commissioner, Hebrew was to become a part of our daily language. Every week they organized a live newspaper. For the 10th anniversary of Betar in Radom in 1935 a special publication was published in Yiddish called To Victory edited by Yisroel Gertner. He went with Somelzon to invite the town official to the celebration. However the official had two conditions: they should not invite the chairman of the Zionist organization, Mr. Yekhiel Frenkel nor Rabbi Kestenberg. We respectfully rejected his conditions.
One of the interesting characters in Betar was Bunem Doren. He came from a Hasidic household and dressed as a Hasid. When he came to our clubhouse he would wear the Betar uniform. He even went on an instructor's course telling his family he was going to a Yeshiva
The writer of these lines immigrated to the Land of Israel in 1935. Yosef Levin immigrated the same year. Yekhiel Puterman was nominated commander of the group. Other leaders were: Yair Vayntroyb, Khanokh Ornshteyn, Kalmen Zlotnik, Naftali Mintzberg and Yosef Rikhtman.
The following Betar accomplishments must be taken into account: the boycott of goods from Germany; providing weapons during the events in Pshitik; local Betar members standing guard until the mood calmed down; the organizing of illegal immigration and teaching how to handle weapons. The instructors of these courses were emissaries from the Land of Israel.
Weapon instruction took place in the home of an active Betar member Yosef Rikhtman, Meir Volf's youngest son, who was later active in the underground movement in the ghetto. He was lucky to survive the hell but unfortunately died in Germany right after liberation.
Brit Hatzhar Zionist Revisionists
Brit Hatzhar Zionist Revisionists
When a young person turned 18 he automatically went from Betar to Brit Hatzar. The chairman of Brit Hatzar was at first Aron Roznfeld and later: Yisroel Lesht, Menakhem Kodentchik, Moishe Margolis and Yekhiel Lesht. The last was elected by the movement in 1933 as a city councillor where he also served as finance commissioner. Thanks to him 200 Jewish workers were employed by the city.
Brit Hatzar organized many public gatherings in Radom where Zev Jabotinsky and other leaders took the stage. Menakhem Begin visited Radom for the last time in 1939 and spoke on Shvartzbardism and Ben Yosefism.
The last chairman of Brit Hatzar in Radom was the engineer Yekhiel Bielisky who was also a member of the central committee of the party in Poland. The organization grew and had a beautiful premises at 19 Moniushky Street. Let us also remember the first two members Mordkhai Shrayber and Avrom Risher. There was also a Revisionist Fund in Radom called Tel Chai Fund. The director was Moishe Somelson.
The organizing meeting of Masada in Radom took place in the home of Vitek Tzemakh and the following participated: Dovid Kaosy, Yisroel Gertner, Fishl Fishman, Yisroel Soveh, Avrom Roznberg and Abush Zigman, later the following were active leaders: M. Boyman, Yakov Kurtz, Yitzkhak Grosfeld, Nokhem Landau, Khaim Kintzler, Yehoshua Gurfinkl, and Ruven Adler. In 1930 Masada had 150 members and two years later 250, and in the end, 350. This was the only organization for school children in town. It carried out cultural activities, sports, created a library and helped out at the bazars for the Jewish National Fund. In 1937 and 1938 they organized Kazimierz summer camps supervised by Moishe Kurtz and Goldkorn.
In 1937 the drama club of Masada performed, under the direction of Loteh, Sholem Aleichem's Hard to be a Jew in the city theatre. Masada helped the refugees from Zbonzh and boycotted goods and films from Germany.
Brit Hachayil (Covenant of the Soldier)
Brit Hachayil (Covenant of the Soldier)
The Brit Hachayil in Radom was proud to be the first division in the world with this name. From a modest beginning of an association of Revisionists, a movement of tens of thousands grew throughout Poland whose initiator was Radom's Betar and its first leader Moishe Sandel. Zev Jabotinsky agreed this association could carry his name and he came to the opening celebrations. Later, at his suggestion, the name was changed to Brit Hachayil and the commander was Yitzkhak Fridman. Hundreds of members belonged to this organization which ran its activities from Khvat's hall. One of the active members was Shamai Morgolis.
Betar also founded a sports organization called Nordiya which was comprised of members from the previous group Trumpeldoriya. They played football (soccer) as well as light and heavy athletics. The energetic engineer Roznberg headed Nordiya. In Radom Life there is a reportage about a football match between Nordiya and the Polish team from Pshitik, The Hurricanes and it says the Jewish football players came onto the playing field wearing black arm bands as a sign of mourning for Shloyme Ben Yosef. Instead of the accepted shouting of Tcholem! they shouted Rosh Pina!
by Moishe Raykhnadel
Translated by Janie Respitz
Two years after Betar's emergence in Radom, a group of older Betar members decided to create an organization for older youth called Menorah.
Among the founders were: Moishe Raykhnadel, Mikhal Gutman, Meir Blum (all three live in Israel), Yitzkhak Bialsky (now in Brazil), Moishe Kirshnblat and Menashe Kaplan. The last five were killed in the Holocaust.
Menorah ran a wide range of Zionist activities: they collected money for the funds, organized Friday night evenings to welcome the Sabbath, organized outings on national holidays, and made sure its members learned Hebrew and bible.
In its locale at 7 Vitolde Street there was a large library which served as a meeting place for youth who were craving Yiddish and Hebrew books. At the unveiling of its flag (one of the most beautiful flags of the Revisionist movement with a gold embroidered picture of Herzl), Zev Jabotinsky attended and was given the honour of hammering in the first nail.
Among the devoted members of Menorah who were killed in the horrific years were: Pinkhas Birnboym, Meir Vayntroyb, Yishayeh Levkovitch, Shloyme Gutman, Avrom Tzinman and the two Shaynboym sisters.
The Revisionist movement in Radom, with all of its by organizations, was a large, colourful family from which only a few survived the annihilation and live to see redemption.
by Yitzkhak Raykhman
Translated by Janie Respitz
In 1915 or 1916 when the Orthodox Federation was founded in Warsaw and began to publish the daily newspaper Dos Yidishe Vort (The Yiddish Word) a few boys from the House of Study in Radom, including Dovid Bilander and the writer of these lines, took upon themselves the initiative to found an orthodox organization in our city. Beside the two of us the following sat temporarily on the committee: Rabbi Dan, the son of the Kazanov rabbi, Rabbi Moishe Shaynfeld, Lipman Perl (later the editor and author of many religious books), Leybish Mendl Ziserman (later the well known activist and alderman on city council), Yekhiel Ayzman, Rabbi Yisroel Goldberg who lives today in Tel Aviv. The first meetings took place at the home of Rabbi Dan (9 Voel), at his father in law Berish Tzimberkovitch. Our organization was called Agudas Tzi'irim Shomrei Torah (The Federation of Youth who Guard the Torah).
It was not easy for us to obtain the legalization
from the Austrian occupying authorities. We were assisted by Dr. Shitzer, the speaker for communal issues and later vice elder official in Radom. He was also a Latin teacher in the Jewish gymnasia Hovevei Das (Lovers of Knowledge). Our organization attracted many boys from the House of Study as well as from business and worker's circles. At our first meeting a committee was elected with the following members: Rabbi Yisroel Goldberg, chairman, Dovid Bilander, vice, Yitzkhak Raykhman, secretary, Moishe Shaynfeld, treasurer, Kalmen Vaysberg, Lipman Perl, Leybish Mendl Ziserman, and Moishe Taytlboym. We would meet in the office of The Society to Spend the Night with the Sick at 9 Rvaynske Street.
Within the framework of our legal status we later founded the Agudah and the first board of directors was comprised of representatives from all the Hasidic prayer houses, like Yakov Leyb Shaynfeld, Mendl Horovitz, Noyekh Roznberg and Yekhiel Shtern (from the Ger Hasidic prayer house); Benzion Mintzberg from the Kozhenitz Hasidic prayer house; Avrom Yakov Landau and Avromche Shteynhorn from the Alexander Hasidic prayer house; Motl Ayzman form the Strikev Hasidic prayer house; Berish Vaynakht and Moishe Yanovsky from the Skiernovitz Hasidic prayer house; Mendl Roznberg, Yakov Simkha Hendl and Yakov Dovid Taytlboym from the Amshinov Hasidic prayer house; Masi Koper from the Ostrov Hasidic prayer house and others.
The Agudah was legalized under the name Agudas Shlomi Emunei Yisroel and the youth organization: Tzeirei Emunei Yisroel.
The Agudah undertook the task of developing orthodox education. As principal in the Radom Yeshivas they hired the well known pedagogue and activist Reb Dovid Elimeylekh Koper from the Gradzhisk Hasidic prayer house. Besides the large Yeshiva in the round marketplace there were others that emerged in different parts of town. The Tzeirei Emunei Yisroel began offering evening classes in Gemora and commentaries on the Talmud for working orthodox youth in the Talmud Torah at 28 Voel.
In 1918, with the liberation of Poland there was revival of all activities in all the Jewish movements including Agudah. We received new members and a new board of directors was elected which consisted of: Eliezer Lipeh Gelibter, Yekhiel Yanovsky, Avrom Shmuel Katz (living now in B'nei B'rak).
The activities of Tzeirei Emunei Yisroel also included discussion evenings on various biblical themes, lectures, especially during holidays when local members and speakers from the central committee spoke like Eliezer Gershon Fridenzon from Lodz and Mordkhai Zusman from Zaviertche.
Several orthodox boys studied at the Hovevei Das Gymnasia. Among them were: Moishe Shaynfeld, Yakov Pines, Rinsky and the writer of these lines. In 1922 when we had had to write our matriculation exams (from Tuesday to Saturday inclusive!), I intervened with the education ministry and received an agreement from the director Dr. Odzhivolsky, that instead of Saturday, we would write the written exams on Friday. My intervention was successful in avoiding the desecration of the Sabbath.
Our Agudah movement was revitalized with the arrival of the following fresh forces: Yosef Kenigsberg who later was a well known activist in the Chochmei Lublin Yeshiva, and the head of the Radom Jewish community council Itche Meir Leslau, the well known industrialist and philanthropist Khaim Nayman, Henekh Vayntraub and others. A lot of energy was devoted to Agudah by the future alderman on city council Leybish Mendl Ziserman.
The new large premises on Shpatzir Street also gave impetus to the development of the movement. It provided the opportunity to work in more comfortable conditions.
Many Radom delegates participated in the first national conference of Agudah in Poland. The following were elected to the central committee: Mendl Horovitz from Agudah and Yitzkhak Raykhman from the youth movement. The last one also worked with Dagleinu (Our Flag), the organ of Tzeirei Emunei Yisroel in Poland.
Right after the conference the Settlement Fund was created in Radom and they ran a large campaign among the orthodox masses. A group was formed to ensure the keeping of the Sabbath called Mazhirei Shabbes in which the following respected individuals were involved: Benzion Mintzberg (father of the Sejm deputy Leybl Mintzberg), Avrom Yakov Landau, Yoel Raykhman, Moishe Yitzkhak Nirenberg, Shloyme Morgolis, Kopl Pretzelman, Meir Bilander and others.
A Beys Yakov organization for women was founded as well as a Beys Yakov school. The chairwoman was Soreh Shifra Raykhman (Yoel's wife) and among others on the board of directors were Mrs. Pines and Mrs. Nirnberg. The Beys Yakov school developed thanks to the help of the founder of the Beys Yakov schools and seminaries in Poland, Mrs. Soreh Shenirer of blessed memory, from Krakow who visited our city.
In the last years, before the dismal cataclysm, some grown up youth joined including: Yekhiel Fridman a journalist, co-editor of the Shedletz Undzer Veg (Our Path), Leybl Shtern of blessed memory and a long life to the lawyer Meir Shimen Raykhman, Yoel's son who lives today in Buenos Aires. They were all very active in the movement up until the Holocaust.
Translated by Janie Respitz
Rabbi Yekhezkl Rozenboym (Shoshani)
He was born in 1895. He was the son of Reb Tankhum and the grandson of Khaim- Yoske. His ancestors belonged to the builders of the Jewish community of Radom. One of them, Rabbi Ruven Rozenboym was the one who influenced Rothschild from Frankfurt to help build the synagogue in Radom.
When Yekhezkl was ten years old he was sent to Lithuania to study in on the famous Yeshivas. He studied there for seven years and at 17 he actually obtained a rabbinical diploma from the great Talmudic genius Khaim Soloveitchik (The Brisk Rabbi). He returned home where his parents began to discuss practical matters. They married him off to the daughter of the leather merchant Shmuel Rotman who was to find his son in law a rabbinic post. However life does not always go as we want or plan. The First World War broke out, his father in law died and Yekhezkl, instead of becoming a great rabbi became a great textile merchant in Lublin.
However, Yekhezkl was not born to be a businessman. He possessed the power, knowledge, intelligence and personality of a community spokesperson, a leader of the People of Israel. This was his calling, this was what was attracting him. His creative and spiritual unrest forced him to neglect his business and devote himself to the Mizrachi Movement. When Rabbi Meir Berlin came to Poland in 1924, Yekhezkl Rozenboym became his right hand man. Rabbi Berlin immediately recognized Rozenboym's organizational strengths and he encouraged him to go to the Land of Israel to work for the Mizarachi movement. Rozenboym's work quickly evolved and he was soon invited as a candidate to the board meeting in Jerusalem. He continued to travel with Rabbi Berlin to various European countries including England, Holland, Belgium, France Germany and others where he made a name for himself as an emissary. He was an esteemed delegate at the congress in Basel and the international Mizrachi conference. In the Land of Israel Rozenboym was the one who attracted many to the Torah Work Movement. He published ideological articles in Mizrachi periodicals and daily newspapers. He travelled again throughout Europe representing the movement, this time alone and with great success.
In 1929 Rozenboym returned to Poland due to family commitments which dragged on and held him there longer than expected. He worked for the movement, but now with less passion. He met and befriended Jabotinsky whose new approach to Zionism made and impact on him. In 1934 he became one of the main founders of Agudas Yisroel and among the most active in the youth movement Noar Chashmonaim (Young Hasmoneans) of the new Zionist organization (Naytzo). He compiled the party bulletins, edited the bi- weekly Achdut Yisrael (Unified Israel). He travelled around attracting more religious members to the party, especially rabbis. Now the work in the new movement was preventing him from returning to the Land of Israel. At the World Conference of Naytzo in 1938, Rozenboym headed the Agudas Yisroel delegation. He visited many Jewish communities in Czechoslovakia and wrote a series of articles (also in the Radom Voice where he was a contributor for many years).
When the Nazis occupied Poland Rozenboym found the strength to write about what was going on for the world to know. Later he was forced to leave Radom for Warsaw where he would get lost within its walls. Before he left he buried all his writings in tin cans in the yard at 13 Voel at the home of his grandfather Khaim Yoske. However, no trace of them were ever found. The Poles, who searched for buried Jewish treasures found and destroyed them.
We know that while in Warsaw Rozenboym was active with Joint until the day he was taken with tens of thousands of Jews to the gas chambers in Treblinka where he and his wife were murdered. Their only son Shmuel survived. He is a talented civil engineer in Sweden.
Nokhem Dovid Luxenburg
He was the son of Reb Itchl The Angel who was given that name due to his large Jewish heart.
Nokhem Dovid was among the first Mizrachi activists and an active member of the Jewish community council. He was a great scholar, highly intelligent and a great conversationalist with a fine sense of humour. He was a good arbitrator in confusing issues. His friendliness brought his close to people. He died at the age of 54.
Yosef Peretz Bushatzky
He earned his living as a bagel baker. However he was a Jew knowledgeable in Torah, very wise with literary talents. He published his Yiddish and Hebrew poems in the press in Poland and America. He was an active Zionist and a good speaker. His modesty and honesty made him loved by everyone. His name was inscribed in the Golden Book due to his accomplishments. He died in 1938 in his early seventies. (Ha Olam, 1938).
Avrom Yitzhak (Adolf) Tzuker
He was born in Pshitik and studied at the Rabbinical Seminary in Warsaw. He was the first president of the Zionist Organization in Radom. Since the first Congress he was the representative and trustee of the Central Zionist Organization and the lawyer Yisroel Yashinovsky.
He gave his children Mikhal Tzuker, a doctor in Kalish, and Max and Yehoshua Tzuker, dentists in Lodz, a Zionist education. He died at an old age in 1915 and was buried in Warsaw.
He was born in 1887 in Ostrov Mazowiecki. He was one of the enlightened Jews in Radom and a Zionist. He was smart and talented. At first he was a lumber merchant but then manufactured furniture for all Poland and export. He was an active Zionist who took part in meetings and conferences. In 1919 he was elected to the central committee of the Zionist Organization of Poland. He spoke and wrote a beautiful Hebrew.
Yisroel Lesht died in 1933 at age 47. His wife and two daughters were killed in Radom.
He was an enlightened Jew, one of Yisroel Frenkel's students and taught religion in the government schools. He was one of the first Zionist activists, elected as a delegate to the Zionist Congress in Minsk in 1920. He died of a heart attack at age 45.
Yekhiel Ozer Rotenberg
He was born in 1898. His father Yehoshua died one year later. His mother, Iteh - Khave, the daughter of Reb Itchke Lanoy (Bialer), was a pious, honest Jewish woman and the owner of a tannery. She provided her orphans with a traditional Jewish education and allowed them to obtain a general education as well. Her daughters Esther Frayde (later the wife of Leybl Maizels) and Nekhama (wife of Mordkhai Mendl Naydik) studied in the gymnasia (before there was a Jewish Gymnasia) and also studied Jewish studies, especially bible.
At first Yekhiel studied with private teachers but later finished gymnasia and studied at the Polytechnic in Prague. When he had to return to Radom to his mother's factory, he specialized in tanning and became on the best tanning masters.
Although he did not belong to the exploited class, he joined the Freedom Movement for ideological reasons. As a nationalist Jew and socialist he chose the path of the left wing Labour Zionists and was one of the most devoted members of the movement.
He was modest, honest and kind hearted. He carried out each task given to him seriously and responsibly.
During the arrests of Labour Zionist members, Yekhiel did everything he could to free them: he made important contacts, brought well known lawyers and was not stingy with his time, energy or money.
His wife helped him with his work for the party. She was Kayle Rukhshe, the daughter of Yenkl Sava. There house was an exemplary Jewish cultural home where friends would often gather for political and literary discussion. Travelling members of the movement who visited Radom would be their guests. It was a homey cultural environment where they spoke only Yiddish. They had a large Yiddish library with all the latest publications.
In 1933 they both visited the Land of Israel and were excited by the pioneering life and particularly the work hegemony in the land. Also, the mild climate turned out to be good for his wife's blood disease. They decided to settle there. Kayle Rukhshe stayed with friends and relatives while Yekhiel returned to liquidate his business. Meanwhile the doctors recommended she spend the rainy winter months in a sanatorium in Egypt, in Helwan near Cairo.
She went there but unfortunately did not return. She died there of her disease and was laid to rest there for eternity.
This tragedy shocked Yekhiel. He could not forgive himself for leaving her alone, even for such a short time.
In accordance to the deceased's will and the suggestion of her family, Yekhiel married her sister Tobeh.
At the outbreak of the Second World War, Yekhiel, like hundreds of others ran away from Radom to the eastern regions, leaving behind his wife and little boy. They were expecting a second child. This disturbed him and he decided to return. On his way back he was arrested by the Soviet authorities and sent to a forced labour camp.
After 1942 there was no news from him. He was not among the freed Polish citizens. It is presumed he gave up his gentle soul in the Soviet labour camp. By SH. A. M.
Dovid Vayntroyb (Shieleh Nokhem's)
He was born into a strict religious family. His brother Henokh was the elected member of Agudah on the Jewish communal council. However, from his youth, Dovid belonged to the Socialist Revolutionary movement. He participated in armed expropriations, was arrested, escaped to Austria, returned during the First World War, became a Labour Zionist, gave passionate speeches, led strikes and demonstrations, was arrested again and spent 6 years in jail. He joined the communists and then returned to the Labour Zionists searching for the shortest and quickest way to achieve his goals
At the beginning of the Second World War he tried to escape with his only daughter to Russia. He did not succeed and died in the ghetto.
Khaim Meir Finkelshteyn
He was a student in Yisroel Frenkel's school; a bookkeeper for the Bekerman family. From 1916 -1918 he was active in the Bundist Workers' Union. Then he became one of the first Labour Zionists carrying out many administrative tasks. He organized the orchestra etc
Khaim Meir was the son in law of the writer Mikhal Veber. He died in the Warsaw ghetto with his wife and two children.
He was born at the end of the 1880s to an orthodox family. However at a young age he already belonged an enlightened circle in town. He obtained Jewish and general knowledge and became one of the most respected activists in the Zionist movement. He was a logical speaker with fine rhetoric. His articles in the local press made an impression.
In 1925 he arrived in the Land of Israel. However, he could not bring over his family and was forced to return. Once again he was active until the split within the general Zionist Organization. Then he headed the group Et Livnot (Time to Build), became chairman and through them he was elected on to the Jewish communal council.
Moishe Luxenburg did not live to return with his family to the Land of Israel and see the Jewish state.
Avreymele the medic, the philanthropist and communal activist was popular and loved. He cheered up his patients with his smile. He did not take money from poor patients. He would often leave them money for prescriptions.
He was active in the Bund and was their representative on city council.
He was killed with his family during the great tragedy of our people.
Leybl Mintzberg was born in Radom in 1887. His father Reb Benzion was a communal activist and held a respected place in the Jewish community. He was a wealthy forest merchant, a scholar and a Kozhenitz Hasid.
Leybl studied with Hasidim as well as general studies. He knew Russian, Polish and German. He married the daughter of a Ger Hasid and became a passionate Ger Hasid himself. He was one of the organizers of the orthodox movement in Poland which was later called Agudas Shlomi Emunei Yisroel. Leybl was also among the organizers of Agudah in Radom and Lodz. (During the First World War he moved to Lodz where he was a merchant, industrialist and energetic communal activist with organizational gusto).
In 1920 Leybl Mintzberg's candidacy was presented by the minority bloc and he was elected as deputy to the Sejm where he was the spokesman for Agudas Yisroel until the Second World War. In 1930 he was elected to the Lodz city management and was the representative in the electric society. He was one of the most popular Agudah leaders in Poland which distinguished itself with relentless fanaticism.
When the Germans occupied Lodz, Mintzberg succeeded with his wife to escape in an ambulance from the Society to Spend the Night with the Sick. They went to Vilna where he worked in a kitchen for refugees. A few weeks later, when the Germans occupied Vilna, his wife, together with hundreds of other Jews was killed in Ponar. Mintzberg remained alone and worked in a factory in the Bialystok ghetto until its liquidation in July 1943 when he was killed with all the other Bialystok Jews.
(From the second volume These Memories New York, 1956).
The Lawyer Avrom Salbeh
The son of a Hasidic family in Radom who went from the House of Study to gymnasia and later to university in Warsaw. He joined the pioneer movement and led the Ha Shomer Hatzair in Radom. His mother Matele was a devoted volunteer in the Interest Free Loan Society and the Society to Aid Poor Pregnant Women.
In 1936 Salbeh visited the Land of Israel and bought an estate in order to settle there. However the war stranded him in Poland where he was a member of the Warsaw Jewish communal council. He returned to Radom and headed the aid committee for victims of the Nazis.
The lawyer Salbeh was a delegate to the 20th congress and a member of the central committee of the Zionist Organization in Poland.
He was 39 years old when he was killed with his wife and two daughters by the Nazi murderers.
He began his communal work in 1910 as a member of the choir of the large synagogue. For a time he lived in the Russian city Briansk where he was a member of the Jewish communal council and a representative of the Young Zion. He returned after the First World War and rebuilt the Young Zion movement. He was chosen as a delegate to the first gathering of the movement with Yisroel Ben Zvi (Tzeygnberg) in 1920.
Mordkhai Leyb (Yehuda) Fishman
He was born 1887 to a religious family from the Hovevei Zion and grew up in an enlightened atmosphere. He was active in Young Zion and Kultura. He was the permanent chairman of the Jewish National Fund and a member of the national council. He was a delegate to Zionist conferences. He was a cofounder of the Zionist Bank and the Zionist Club. Before the split in the Zionist organization he fought together with A. Goldberg the editor of Haynt, Dr. Davidzon and P. Fogelman for peace and unity. After the split he became chairman of Group B.
His wife was one of the founders of WIZO and his son Nokhem (who was in a Russian exile camp and died in middle Asia) was active in the Zionist youth movement. His older son Yekhiel (Fishek) was a co-founder of Masada and editor of the page published in Radom for the Warsaw newspaper Rabotnik. He spent 15 years in exile in Siberia and immigrated to the Land of Israel in 1957. His daughter Miriam who survived the Nazi hell was freed by the Swedish Red Cross from a camp in Ravensburg and today lives in Israel.
From the time the Germans occupied Radom Mordkhai Leyb Fishman did not leave his house until March 1942 when he died. His wife Bayle died in December of the same year.
On the second anniversary of Shmuel Grinshpan's death in 1925 Khaim Taykhman wrote the following in the Radom newspaper:
He was the eldest in our pioneer family of 17-18 year olds. A black haired handsome guy with a warm smile. He would take us out to the field, teach us to plow and seed and live with nature. He was stubborn and a hard worker. At sunset when we would fall exhausted, his image jutted out on the horizon. He stood alone bent over a shovel and worked. We all respected him and followed him.
Although Shmuel Grinshpan came from proletarian descent he was a passionate Zionist. Bundist friends would scold him saying it was not appropriate for him to belong to a bourgeois organization. However Shmuel, the weaver in a factory in Lodz wove dreams about a new life in our own land. He was preparing to immigrate but the sudden death of his father depressed him. He himself suffered from lung problems. We once visited him in his attic room. He was lying in his sick bed from which he never emerged. He died in poverty, but not lonely: the Hechalutz committee organized a memorial evening where it was stressed: one of our best pioneers in town has left us. He symbolized love for his people and nature, love for a free life of working the soil of our redeemed free homeland.
The youngest son of Reb Fishl the ritual slaughterer. He was born in 1888. From his early youth he was an active member in the Zionist movement until the Holocaust. He was the representative of the Zionist Organization on the Jewish communal council and board of directors. He was killed during the tragedy of our people. His two daughters (twins) came to Israel after the war and live here.
(An article from the Geneva The Jewish Proletariat the organ of
the Zionist Socialist Worker's Party, Vol. 1, November 1905)
Translated by Janie Respitz
The powerful storm of the Russian revolutionary rebellion resonated with us in Radom. The repercussions of the general strike of the railway workers left a deep impression on the entire proletariat of Radom and our organization immediately decided to go on a political strike. We distributed flyers where we explained to the Jewish proletariat masses the call to revolution, to unite with all strikers and fighting workers in Russia. The P.P.S and the Bund also distributed proclamations.
Life in Radom came to a stop. The entire community felt the power of the proletariat. The town was dead and deserted. All businesses were closed, the factories and warehouses were empty. The coachmen did not travel. In the evening a demonstration of our members took place on Lublin Street, about 200 people. The demonstration made a big impression on the working masses. All proletarian hearts felt the strong feeling, the strong protest against Russian despotism. The voices of the demonstrators rang through the streets. The police were confused by the mass demonstration and did not take any measures.
The town looked terrible that evening when the masses dispersed. The electricity was not working and in the streets you could only hear the stampede of dragoons and police.
The next day, Tuesday morning a second notice from our organization, in Yiddish, Polish and Russian was hung on every street. The workers were congratulated on their proletariat holiday. The entire population of Radom was in the streets and read our proclamation.
The second day of our political strike was calm. There were no confrontations with the police. In the evening, when it became dark a group of our workers and some from other organizations, about 50 people, started to build barricades on Lublin Street. The dragoons who were standing nearby did not disturb our work, but later the soldiers burned down our barricades.
Wednesday morning we received news about the manifesto. Masses gathered in the yard of the printing house where the manifesto was printed. The bourgeoisie was happy with the so called freedom but the proletariat understood they were deceived by the government and took to the streets shouting:
Down with tyranny! Long live a total freedom from this barbaric regime!From that day on we held many meetings, gatherings and demonstrations in which all the organizations participated.
On Thursday we issued another notice, where we called upon the working masses to return to work and gather strength for the attack on the damn autocratic clique. That same day another demonstration took place under our flag. After a member made a speech the excited crowd demonstrated in the street singing The Oath and making revolutionary proclamations. At the same time there was a confrontation with a Bundist group.
On Saturday our organization decided to hold a mass gathering behind the town. 500 people came.
Now in Radom a state of war was declared on these new atrocities. We called for a one day political strike and we distributed two large extra newspapers.
Now life in Radom is quite prosaic. All the gates close at four o'clock in accordance with an order from the local Czarist dictator. It is quiet in the streets. You don's see anyone except Cossacks, dragoons, gendarmes and the military. For two days we expected a pogrom. Our organization, the Bund, P.P. S and the S.D organized a self defence.
Translated by Janie Respitz
In accordance with the initiative of the local Bundist Party Committee, on November 18th 1938, a conference was organized for all the administrators of the Professional Class Unions: shoemakers, stitchers, and clothing workers, artisans, bakers, business and office employees (Vitold 10), butchers, hairdressers and Morning Stars. The conference dealt with communal issues such as aid for German refugees, winter aid for unemployed union members, congress of The National Council, and about the organ of the professional union Ruf. An administrative body was elected with representatives from the Bund and all professional unions which had to accept the decided resolutions.
Ber Feygnboym, one of the oldest leaders of the Bund in Radom, member of the Jewish communal council, was awarded the Medal of Independence for his participation in the fight for the liberation of Poland. Before his work for the freedom movement, Ber Feygnboym sat for a long time in a Czarist jail.
by Samuel Grosfeld (Florida)
Translated by Janie Respitz
This was after the Russian defeat in the war with Japan. People were saying military reserves will come through Radom, and as usual we prepared for a pogrom.
The socialist parties, The Bund, The Labour Zionists and P.P.S united to form a resistance. We had a meeting in the Kapster forest where it was decided to create a fund to buy weapons and prepare for an armed self defence. Together with Yosl Hamershteyn my assignment was to go to Lodz to acquire weapons.
We arrived in Lodz at the given address, rang the bell and knocked at the door. No one opened. We went into a candy store to drink a glass of tea, waited an hour and returned to that address.
This time a little girl answered the door and asked what we wanted. We said the name that was the signal. A man came and asked cautious questions and then invited us into the house. He set the table and told us to make ourselves at home. We ate and enjoyed ourselves. Then he brought out 24 new revolvers with an appropriate amount of bullets. Our eyes lit up…
He wrapped the revolvers and bullets in newspaper. He prepared elegant, neat packages and gave them to us with instructions: how to carry them, how to behave at the train station and in general as we travelled home.
We travelled safely.
Outwardly we appeared calm but our nerves were so tense we paid no attention to our appearance and the packaging of our merchandise which could have attracted everyone's attention and resulted in tragedy.
As soon as I walked into my house my father opened his eyes wide and shouted in fear:
This is how you walked in the streets?
Only then did I notice the newspaper was torn and ripped and you could see the shining steel of the revolvers…
Bring this down to the cellar immediately and hide them!
Of course I obeyed my father right away.
We organized our armed self defence, mobilized socialist youth from the three above mentioned organizations as well as strongmen who had to be abandoned.
On the night we assumed the pogrom would take place we sent patrol groups to a few parts of town to track down suspicious movements. Each group had to patrol a few streets and it was decided that as soon as someone noticed the Pogromchiks coming he should go straight to the best fire bell and ring it. Upon hearing the bell, everyone will start ringing fire bells and that will be the signal for everyone to emerge from their hiding places with weapons and begin to fight.
This is what happened.
We waited long hours with tense nerves. It was quiet and each minute felt like an eternity.
Suddenly we heard a bell ring in the distance from Kozhenitz Street. Our hearts were beating quickly. We held our breath and listened attentively:
We began to hear bells ring from various areas. The entire town was ringing with alarm bells.
The heroes of our self defence emerged from their hiding places with revolvers in their hands and began looking for the threatening enemy.
Especially battle happy were the Strongmen who were waiting for the alarm call in the bakeries: at Aron the bagel baker's, at Moishe the cake baker's, at the red head cake baker's, at Fraydele the baker's and at the tea house of Arish Gluzman and Khayele. The strongmen included: Gershon Sucker, Moishe Kratke, Itche Vodka, Shloime Gullet, Yenkl Cow, Leybishl, Notele the Thief, Moishe K., Gershon Grafshteyn, Leyzer Shayeh and Moishe Vaytzman.
Although the streets were empty and we did not see any attackers, Gershon Suck could not control his enthusiasm and began to shoot in the air.
The Cossacks stationed in Radom heard this and rode quickly through the empty streets on their small horses.
The frightened people who were woken up by the alarm bells saw the Cossacks and began to disperse.
The fire fighters with pails of water, hurried to extinguish the fire.
It turned out the first alarm bell was rung because of a fire burning on Kozhenitz Street. Only then were we convinced that it was not our signal but rather a fire with flames on Kozhenitz Street.
The Cossacks flew around like nimble devils wanting to capture whoever fired the shots. However the shooter realized his mistake and ran away. Our heroes were now hiding in order not to be captured by the Cossacks.
The leaders were particularly in danger of being arrested. We went into Abish Adler's house. With us were: Kalmen Rotenberg, Shmuel Kirshenboym, Menashe Kayler and Yehoshua Grosfeld. We quietly snuck into the garden not to awaken the gardener and through there entered Ruven Bekerman's garden. We climbed over the fence and continued on ignoring the barking dogs. We could not remain standing because we heard the galloping of the Cossack's horses.
We came to a second fence and climbed over. Now on the property of the Jewish hospital we felt safer.
The manager of the Jewish hospital was Yekhiel Kammer. We went to him and told him what happened and that we were looking for a hiding place. Yekhiel Kammer thought for a moment and suggested:
We have empty beds here. Get undressed and go to sleep…tonight you are my patients…
We lay down and slept, not like sick people, until ten o'clock in the morning. Given that we were not registered we did not have to check out and thank God we left the hospital in good health…
Now we were curious to learn what happened that night. We were told: the fire fighters extinguished the fire; the Cossacks and their horses were tired and galloped back to their barracks; the self defence groups dispersed and went home to sleep and the night passed calmly.
Only the Polish P.P.S investigated and wanted unconditionally to know who fired the shots. Nu, go tell them that the strongman Gershonkeh did it…
However, it was precisely Gershon's shot that had a large effect and resulted in the avoiding a pogrom or a bloody encounter between the Pogromchiks and the armed self defence. As we later learned these bands were in fact in town and were preparing a surprise attack. Gershon's shot however, warned them there was an armed self defence and these heroes were frightened…
Translated by Janie Respitz
After a long investigation we succeeded in compiling a list of Radom's sons who fought in the ranks of the Republican army in Spain. The list is not complete and for some we do not know their real names. We know them according to their pseudonyms or first names and time has blurred many details. We bring here only what we have succeeded to rescue from forgetfulness:
1. Levi Tzuker, The Red Lion
Born in 1912. His father's name was Mordkhai, his mother was Nekhele. They lived on Glinitze Street. He studied at the Psiatshul Viedzi gymnasia. In 1935 he arrived in Paris as a student and a political émigré. At home he was connected to a secret printing house of the communist party which was discovered. He joined the Spanish Republican Army with a group from Paris called Ik-ists. In 1938 he was sent back to Paris as a patient and underwent ulcer surgery. He later joined the French Foreign Legion and in May 1940 was mobilized into the Polish army in the military camp Koetkidan. After the French defeat and the fall of the Polish army he returned to Paris. He worked for the underground movement, was interned in 1941 in the concentration camp Pitiviers and due to his poor health condition he was freed. Once again he worked in the 19th Arrrondissement with the underground Solidarity, but his health condition worsened and he needed to be operated on again. He was operated on in February 1942 but the consequences were fatal. At first he was buried in a Paris Jewish cemetery, however in 1959, he bones were transferred to the common grave of Radom Jews in Paris.
2. Avrom Abramovitch
He was born in 1912. His parents Shaymeh and Dvoyre Leah lived at 2 Lubliner Street. He was a barber by profession. He arrived in Paris in 1932 and was attracted to the work of the progressive organizations. At the beginning of the Civil War in Spain he volunteered to be mobilized. He fell in battle at the end of 1936.
3. Yonas Blayvas
He lived at 16 Rvaynski Street. His father was a tailor and enabled his son to study. After graduating from gymnasia in Radom he went to Paris where he studied in the Faculty of Agronomy and was a member of the communist student organization. In October 1936 he left Paris for Spain where he displayed fighting talents. He fell in the beginning of 1937.
4. Meir Berman
Born in 1910. His father was a ritual slaughterer and lived at 11 Lubliner Street. In 1935 he ran away to Paris as a political refugee and worked as a tailor. He was active in the Radom Patronage. He was among the first to volunteer in the Spanish Civil war and fell in battle.
5. Eliyahu Vaysband
Born in 1911. He was called Red Elye and was a son of a ritual scribe on Voel. He arrived in France as a political émigré and joined the Young Worker's Club ICK. In 1936 he joined a group of volunteers going to Spain where he participated in battles on numerous fronts. He returned to France and was later interned in Gurs Camp from which he would later escape. He worked for the Jewish Resistance Movement, was arrested in 1942 and was interned in Drancy Camp. He was sent to various camps and was murdered in Auschwitz.
6. Itche Zisman
He father was a teacher in the Radom Yeshiva and he was a boot maker. They lived on Novogrodzke Street. He arrived in France as a political émigré in 1935 where he became active in the communist movement and was popular under the name Itche Upshot. In 1936 he went to Spain to fight. He fell in 1938 in the battle at Guada LaHara.
7. Meir ( ? )
His father was a wagon driver and he was a lady's tailor. They lived in the old town. As an active communist he was arrested for three years but was freed as he was a minor. He sat in jail with the present Polish minister Mazur (also from our town) in one cell. He escaped and arrived in France illegally and remained there for a short time on his way to Spain. He fought heroically and fell in 1938.
8. Moishe Nayman
The son of destitute parents with a thirst for learning and knowledge. He read and studied all night and joined the worker's movement, fought against anti Semitism, was chased by the police and had to escape to Paris. In 1936 he joined the International Brigade to fight Fascism in Spain. He fought for justice, a better tomorrow and for honour of the Jewish proletariat for which he gave his young life.
9. Mordkhai Rozentzveyg
Born in 1908. At 16 years old he joined the communist youth and at 18 he already spent half a year in jail. The police watched his every move. They tortured him so much he ran away to Paris in 1929. There he became involved in the Tailor's Union and was among the first to volunteer to go to Spain. He returned with the defeated armies and was interned in France with other Spanish soldiers from where he escaped. At the outbreak of the Second World War he volunteered with the Foreign Legion. He fell into German hands on the northern front and was taken prisoner. He tried to escape and they smashed his kidneys. In 1942 he was freed from the prison camp. He resumed work with the underground movement and in 1944 he had a set back at work. The Gestapo arrested him and this deportation ended his heroic life.
10. Khaim Tzuker
He was born in 1920 to Yitzkhak Mendl the ritual slaughterer and Mindl. They lived at 12 Voel. He was raised in the environment of the left wing labour Zionists however, in 1934 became a communist and after a political campaign was arrested. Between his release and his trial he escaped to France where he became an active leader of ICK. He was barely 16 when he joined the Republican Army. He was accepted thanks to his height as he looked two three years older. By the time they learned he was too young to be a soldier, he was already
on the Madrid front. On the 6th of December 1936, while defending the university, a fascist's bullet ended his young life.
11. Avrom the Tailor
His family name in not known. His parents lived in the old town in the Tentzer's house. His father worked as a butcher in Meir Tzingiser's butcher shop on Voel. He was attracted to the communist youth movement at a young age where he was active with his brother Dovid. Despite the danger the whole family faced, their parents tolerated everything. Young Avrom was often bothered by the police and tasted the taste of Polish jails a few times. He arrived in Paris at age 17 on his way to Spain. He participated in battles and fell during the offensive in Madrid.
by Yehoshua Lender
Translated by Janie Respitz
My orphaned hometown Radom,
I want to sing about your Jewish professions,
Journeymen rose up in the Jewish streets
Laughing and singing.
Your leather factories
Streets filled with noise and shouts,
Iron factories and foundries, where Jews
Seamstresses, tailors, shoemakers and furriers
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