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[Page 265]

The “Beis-Yakov” School

by Shoshona Wajnsztok

I was just a small girl when the first religious school for girls was founded in Radomsk, under the name Beis-Yakov. The school was located on the market, in the house of H. Eibeszic. At that time, Radomsk did not have its own women teachers. The teachers in the Beis-Yakov school were for the most part graduates of the Beis-Yakov seminary in Krakow. In later years, Radomsk had its own teachers – the Misses Bochan, Frenk, Yudkewicz and others.

In the school, we studied twenty to twenty-five girls in a group (the oldest groups were called B'nos). After finishing the school, some of our girls traveled to the Beis-Yakov seminary in Krakow to continue their studies.

In school we studied: Tanakh, worship, brukhes (blessings), reading and writing Yiddish, and singing songs. Friday nights and Shabbos we would go to daven. On Chanukah and Purim we would arrange different social events and entertainments. The receipts from these undertakings we would donate to charitable causes.

The school reached a high level of achievement and was known in the whole poviat (district). A great experience for us was when Mrs. Shnirer, the leader of Beis Yakov schools in Poland came to visit us in school. We came to school all dressed up in holiday clothes. The lessons in our group were held under the instruction of Mrs. Shnirer, who in our childish eyes shone like a symbol of knowledge, virtue and piety. Mrs. Shnirer posed different questions to us about Jewish history and Jewish customs. At a certain moment, she turned to me and said: “My child, you have a face as pretty as an apple, do you know what kind of a brukhe one makes over fruit?” At that moment my face was more like a beet than an apple. Yet I boldly and confidently said the appropriate blessing. Mrs. Shnirer strongly praised me and I was proud for many weeks…

In later years, the Beis-Yakov school was located on Krakowski Street number 9. I attended the school until the outbreak of the war in 1939, and alas, I am the only survivor of all of my sister students. Very often I want to talk about and remember the happy childhood years in the Beis-Yakov school with someone.

[Page 266]

The Sholom-Aleichem Library

by Y. Liberman

The Sholom-Aleichem Library was opened on the first of May 1926 in the club of Poalei-Zion-Ts.S., which was located in Binyamin Holcberg's house, on Przedborska Street.

The library was founded thanks to the initiative of several party workers, who were known under the name of the 'Four.'

It should be stressed that the Sholom-Aleichem Library was not the only one and not the first library in the city. Other libraries already existed before it. Particularly, the Y.L. Peretz Library must be mentioned, which was founded two years earlier by the Artisans' Union. This library possessed two thousand books and hundreds of readers belonged to it. It was located in the city center on Kaliska Street.

The establishment of the Sholom-Aleichem Library is associated with great difficulties. It was not an easy task to create it 'out of nothing' without monetary means, without the minimum inventory and without the least experience in how to run a library. The place that was used as the library was not located in the city center. And yet, regardless of all of the impediments, it was decided with resolve to create the library.

Our movement, which was a movement for educating all, required of its members that they implement its ideals; it could not leave education in the hand of the “impartial.” We also recognized that with the founding of the library, we were laying the foundation for a cultural center, which we aspired to build for the young and adults who would be concentrated around us. During the same time, we created a folks- university, evening courses for adults, a dramatic circle and a chorus. Still we considered the creation of the library as the high point of our cultural activity.

The [task of] organizing and building the library was given to the writer of these lines, with the active assistance of comrade Haim Goldberg, of blessed memory, and others. I was also the first librarian.

As said, the library opened on the first of May, 1926. At the beginning, there were 500-600 Yiddish books, which were gathered together from several donors. The first closet was built by volunteer cabinetmakers – party comrades. At first the library counted several dozen readers. The reading material was not colorful, as is the way when the books are not purchased, but donated.

Better was the fate of the Polish collection. Thanks to the help of a group of female pupils from the Wajntraub-Gymnazie: Szifra Witenberg, Pola Faktor (Israel), Fela Szwarc, Manya Ofman, (United States), Bela Tiger, Lola Rapaport (perished) and others. This group had gathered together several hundred books in the Polish language for another library, which was inactive and they, therefore, gave the books to our library. These books were desirable reading material and served as the nucleus of the Polish collection. The members of the group described assisted us in running the Polish collection and a number of them were librarians for an extended time.

With the establishment of the library, we immediately began to buy books in both languages. The number of readers easily grew and the library quickly developed. Membership dues were low and we had to begin marshaling money for buying books. The action was carried out by the organization of different spectacles, which succeeded thanks to the help of our readers.

We also planned to create a Hebrew collection, but it was not created until ten years later. We made unceasing efforts to buy new books in both languages. The library immediately bought every newly published book. Readers showed the proper appreciation. A connection and understanding was created between the library leaders and the readers and volunteers were found who helped collect money. During the summer we would arrange flower days and in winter we arranged cultural evenings. The receipts from these enabled us to enlarge the library.

In the winter of 1931 we arranged with Keren Kayemet Le-Yisroel, an Eretz-Yisroel evening under the name “Tel Aviv Night” that was very successful.

In time our library became the central library in the city, an institution which earned respect and recognition of our movement in Radomsk.

Today when I make (after 35-38 years) a survey of the history of the library and remember this self-sacrifice of all those who participated in this work and saw in this a holy work, I am surprised and full of wonder. Until my immigration to Eretz-Yisroel (1933) [the following] served as librarians: Moishe-Yitzhak Szitenberg (Israel) and Yehezkeil Skornitski, who did their work with extraordinary devotion. (E. Skornitski did not live to make aliyah (immigrate) to Eretz-Yisroel and perished in exile, honor to his memory). Yehezkiel Grosman (Israel) was assistant librarian for a short time.

When I left Radomsk, the library already numbered around three thousand books and about four hundred readers. After my emigration, the library expanded further and 'devoured' the smaller libraries, which could not exist any longer. Such a fate was inevitable for the bigger Y. L. Peretz library, which because of money difficulties and especially due to the insufficiency in the necessary communal support could no longer exist.

[Page 267]

It was difficult to maintain the Y. L. Peretz library as an institution, which needed to be run by volunteers. It was hard to find volunteers among the hundreds of members who could do it after a long and hard workday.

When the Y. L. Peretz closed, our library bought about three thousand books there, and thus the number of books we had doubled and hundreds of new readers came to us. It was necessary to find a new premises for the enlarged library and it was moved to the city center, in a small house of its own (in Market Platz 5, in the courtyard of Haim Gelbard).

Then, the Poalei-Zion Ts. S. movement and its branches grew and expanded. Holcberg's house was completely deserted and it was rented by various clubs for the party, for its youth and professional unions, and for the library, too.

I need to go back to an earlier era, in order to describe the cultural institutions we developed around the library and remember a wonderful person, Izrael Bromberg, of blessed memory, who had a very important part in all of the activities.

Izrael Bromberg came to Radomsk from Kolomyja (Eastern Galicia) as a history teacher in the Wajntraub-Gymnazie. He was a modest folks-mentsch (man of the people) and a dear friend of the young. He was a fervent opponent of assimilation and, outside of the gymnazie, he spoke only Yiddish. Therefore he was different from his fellow teachers, who were the carriers of Polish culture and language among the Jewish pupils.

Izrael Bromberg was not a Zionist. He had a different approach, because he wanted to be active among the young and, indeed, found broad possibilities to do this with us. The first connection with him was made through the library in which he was enrolled as a leader.

Izrael Bromberg found a broad field of work with us; he conducted courses in history and literature, in the preparation of pioneers for Israel and for “freedom” and also was very cooperative in the spread of culture among the adults. Friday nights we would arrange conversations and readings on literary and historical themes (except for the political reports that the party would organize), conducted by Izrael Bromberg. In 1930 thanks to his initiative and under his leadership, we carried out a folks-university with a continuing series of interesting lectures. In the winter of 1930 thirty-nine lectures were presented in which four thousand listeners participated. All of the lectures were presented in Holcberg's house; only the opening evening took place in a room in the city hall.

The folks- university continued its activities in the winter of 1931, too. We organized evening courses for adults. Many, many students attended, too. For many years we had a chorus under the direction of Leibel Zaks (the son of Cantor Shlomoh Zaks) and a dramatic circle headed by Yakov Wajslicz, which from time to time presented Yiddish poetry.

The Hebrew collection in the library was created ten years after the opening and this was thanks to the initiative here in Eretz-Yisroel.

In 1934, the author of these lines, with Moishe Szite (Szitenberg) began an action for gathering together Hebrew books with the purpose of sending them to the Sholom-Aleichem Library in Radomsk and to open a Hebrew collection there. It took a long time until we succeeded in gathering together several hundred appropriate books. Then our friend Haim Goldberg, of blessed memory, came to [Eretz-Yisroel] and settled in Haifa and carried out a collection there. We made an agreement with Brit Ivrit Olamit (World Hebrew Association) and the institute sent the collected books with additional books from them to Radomsk. The library leadership in Radomsk was thankful for the gift and opened a Hebrew collection in the name of Meir Wolkowicz, of blessed memory, who had died earlier.

At that time the library reached it highest point of development; the number of books reached fifteen thousand and the number of readers reached one thousand. The second generation of library leaders [with its] great devotion to activity, transformed the library into an institution, which earned respect for our movement.

Suddenly the Jewish skies in Poland were transformed and instantly devastation spilled out on the Jewish cities and shtetlekh. Hitler's army flooded Poland and began the physical annihilation of Polish Jewry and the destruction of its culture. In the first sequence, all Jewish libraries were confiscated and the books sent to Germany as raw material for the German paper industry.

Tuvia Borszykowski, of blessed memory, the librarian at the outbreak of the war in 1939, describes in his memoirs how the library was saved in the era of the Holocaust. He and his friend Sani Akrent (now a member of Kibbutz Lohamei Haghetaot [Ghetto Fighters' Kibbutz]), decided to take the books to an appropriate hiding place. In great fear, they took the books in the middle of a bright day, and literally under German eyes, to the apartment of our dear friend M. Z. Rozenblat, of blessed memory. They took only several hundred of the most important books. The majority of books (about fourteen thousand) they hid in the attic of the library.

After the war, when Tuvia came back to Radomsk, he immediately inquired about what had happened to the books, which he had hidden. A Polish family lived in the small library building, who knew nothing about the existence of an attic and of the books which were hidden there. When Tuvia told them the secret, they were astonished and agreed to give him the books for a small payment. In the morning, Tuvia took the books to Warsaw and divided them among the kibbutzim (collectives), which were then organized in Poland and which were thirsty for a Jewish or Hebrew book.

[Page 268]

The Jewish Sports Clubs

by Abraham Waldfogel

In 1921 the first Jewish Sports Club Hakoakh was founded and began to develop sports among the Radomsker young.

The football (soccer) team of Maccabi and “social workers”

Standing (from the right): A. Zilbersztajn, L. Gelbard, Nusim Brin, A. Rozenblat, Izrael Glikman
M. Majtlis, M. Kh. Gliksman, Y. Winer, Y. Szigler, A. Haze
Second row: Yakov-Shmul Orbakh, Yosef Zilbersztajn, Z. Sabatowski
Underneath: Natan Zilbersztajn, Yakov Szitenberg, Moishe Bialystok

The sports club “Kraft“ (later “Hapoel”) in 1931,

during meeting with Comrade Lajzerowicz, of Piotrkow (the 4th from the right),
who returned from a motorcycle race in Eretz-Yisroel.

The managing committee of this sports organization consisted of members Hershel Dikerman, Anek Wielunski, Motek Pacanowski, Kopel Bialystok, Shlomoh Szac, Izrael Bunim Szmulewicz, Fule Grosberg, Yosef Wigodzki and Nakhman Koniecpolski.

The first football match between the players from Hakoakh and the Polish sports club Korona, which had also just been established, took place on the city square near the movie theater. The wind orchestra of the city firemen accompanied this football competition. That time, the Jewish sports club won.

The participants in this football game were Shlomoh Cyncynatus, Nakhman Koniecpolski, Dovid Bugajski, Fule Grosberg, Moishe Przyrowski, Izrael Bunim Szmulewicz, Yosef Wigodzki, Kopel Bialystok, Hershel Cukerman and the Christian player Walter Wacek. This first victory brought further victories and, the whole first summer, the Jewish sports club had the upper hand over the Polish sports club Korona. In the new season, Hakoakh encountered a new opponent; this was the Polish team Drooszini, which completely overwhelmed Hakoakh and here the Jewish sports club suffered some defeats. But Hakoakh changed players and strengthened the team and thus was the first football team in Radomsk.

The first meeting hall for Hakoakh was in Szikulski's mill on Brzeznicka Street.

The managing committee of Hakoakh (1925) was composed of a chairman – Engineer M. Faliwada, A. Horowicz, Eleizer Kaplan, Y. M. Koniecpolski, Abraham Szac, Y. Khaskilewicz, Shlomoh Szac, Shimeon Ofman and Yakov Wigodzki.

The second Jewish Sports Club in Radomsk, Makabi, originated in 1922 and took on a national character. The founders were: Fishel and Berek Winer, Moishe Bialystok, Shlomoh Sobol, Dovid Bugajski, Izrael Gliksman, Izrael Szifler and Abraham Haze.

First they created the football team. It consisted of the members: Yakov Szitenberg, Moishe Bialystok, Fishel and Berek Winer, Yakov Winer, Mordekhai Majtlis, Izrael Gliksman, Yakov Shmul Orbakh, Wolf Sabatowski, Natan Zilbersztajn and Nisen Brin.

The first year Makabi did not distinguish itself with any great wins on the football field; however, in 1924 Makabi beat Hakoakh along with many other Polish football teams which already existed in the city. In that year Makabi was enlarged and numbered several hundred members, men and women. Makabi was the representative sports club of the Jewish population.

The leaders of Makabi were the chairman Ramel Rozenbaum, Leon Gelbard, Solomon Haze, Yanek Khaskelewicz and Lalek Glikman.

Besides the football section, there was also a Ping-Pong section, a section for light athletics, etc.

[Page 269]

In time the Jewish workers' sports club were created, Gwiazda, which was joined by the leftist Poalei-Zion, Igla, which had a connection to the Communists, and in the end the sports club Hapoel, which belonged to Poalei-Zion Ts. S., came into existence. Hapoel occupied a respectable place in Jewish society, particularly its cyclists and Ping-Pong section.

Here let us remember the Jewish sportsmen from our city who were killed by the Germans:

The longtime chairman of Makabi – Izrael Czifler, the treasurer – Abraham Haze, Abraham Zilbersztajn, the football players: Moishe Bialystok, Natan Zilbersztajn, Nisen Bril (Translator's note: this name is rendered as Nusim Brin in a photo caption that appears above), Izrael Gliksman, Mordekhai Majtlis, Yakov Winer, Berek Winer, Shlomoh Sobol, Shmul Zilbersztajn, Shimeon Liberman, Dovid Bugajski and Hershel Szitenberg.

The Sports Club “Hapoel”

The Jewish Sport organization Hapoel was created by the members of the Zionist-Socialist youth movement. The aim was to prepare Jewish youth physically and, simultaneously, connect them ideologically to the Hapoel in Eretz-Yisroel.

At the beginning – in 1929 – the sports organization Kraft was created. A small premises was rented in A. M. Szpira's house at Brzeznicka 1 on the fourth floor. Sections were created there – football, cycling, gymnastics, Ping-Pong and volleyball. The founders were Hilel Rozencwajg, Mundek Fajerman, Dovid Gerikhter, Hersh Szitenberg, Fishel Moszkowicz, Abraham Waldfojgel, Leizer Szpira, etc. In 1930 Fishel Moszkowicz, who represented our sports club, took second prize in the bicycle race in Radomsker circle. In the same year a competition of Ping-Pong teams was held and our team took first place. This team consisted of the members: Dovid Gerikhter, Falek Klajnerman, Szitenberg, Reikh, Fajerman, and Szpira.

With the rise of Hapoel in Poland, a meeting took place at which we, too, decided to change our name from Kraft to Hapoel.

When a sports competition of all Hapoel clubs took place in Piotrkow, our club also took part and our members took respectable spots in different games.

Because the number of members in our club kept increasing, we rented a larger meeting hall on the corner of Mickowicz-Narutowicz Street. A stage was built in the new meeting hall and we bought a piano, so that different cultural undertakings were possible. A dramatic circle was created, which was led by Haim Aronowicz, and an orchestra under the leadership of N. Ofman.

In 1934 the Tel Aviv Hapoel visited Radomsk while on a tour of Poland. It played with great success against the football representatives from Radomsk and left a great impression on the entire population. (The third photograph was taken then.)

The bicycle section of “Hapoel”

The football team of “Hapoel”

The football team of “Hapoel”

[Page 270]

In 1932, a 'tour' of Hapoel cyclists was organized in Poland to Eretz-Yisroel. Among the cyclists was our comrade Yosef Zilbersztajn of Radomsk Hapoel. It was thus that he came to Eretz-Yisroel and he remained there.

At that time, courses for gymnastic teachers were organized in Warsaw. From our club, Comrade Mundek Fajerman took part in the men's course and Manye Szpira for women. At their return, our activities increased. Thus, we carried out our work until 1938. Then our club was closed by the regime because of a denunciation.

There were other Jewish sports' clubs in Radomsk, too: Gwiazda of the left Poalei-Zion, Jutrzenka of the Bund, etc.

A group of bicyclists from Warsaw “Hapoel” during their passage through Radomsk during
a race to “Eretz-Yisroel” (1932)

The Children's Home Named after Dr. Mitelman

by K. Dovid

The initiative to create the children's home came from Zeiri Zion, which was the major participant in the first managing committee. Leaders such as Mordekhai Zelig Rozenblat (Poalei Zion), Yosef Gaslowski (Fareinkte), Dr. Mitelman, Zakun Szreiber, L. Wajnberg, Farz (unaffiliated) from other parties that supported the idea worked with [the leaders of Zeiri Zion].

The managing committee of the children's home in 1920

Sitting (from the right): Belcia Cymberknopf, L. Wajnberg (Chairman), Eva Gold, Rivkah Fajerman
Standing: M. Z. Rozenblat, Kzhepicka, Ester Szif, Zisman Ofman

The aim was also to create a school for Jewish children with instruction in Yiddish and Hebrew. Unfortunately, this only remained a wish. There were no Jewish schools in our city, not a Hebrew school and not a folks-shul. This was because all of the party leaders left the city in the years 1919-1920 and all of the parties became inactive. The children's home was located in the house of Mrs. Salcia Behm on Kaliska Street.

After the sudden death of Dr. Mitelman (died during the typhus epidemic), the managing committee decided to name the nursery after him.

We must record that of all the leaders who founded the children's home, only two remained in the city, Yosef Gaslowski and Mordekhai Zelig Rozenblat. The former did everything for the children's home in the later years. [Through] all the years, Mordekhai Zelig was concerned about his income and was unable to dedicate himself as much to the activities.

We bring here an article from Undzer Zeitung (of 1926) about a Chanukah celebration, which occurred in 1925 in the children's home named after Dr. Mitelman (written by Mordekhai Zelig Rozenblat, of blessed memory).

“Undzer Zeitung” issue of 1/1/1926”

“A sincere thank you is deserved by the managing committee of the children's home for the Chanukah gelt (money) with which they treated us on the last day of Chanukah. Even now, in the hard struggle for survival, in the uproar of fresh hates and evils – we were invited to a Chanukah party in the children's home. In the Garden of Eden of childish souls, in the holy of holies of dreams and fantasies; for the whole two hours, we felt as if we were in a new world, really in the other world (the World of the Dead)…”

[Page 271]

“I say in the World of the Dead, because where else does real truth so touchingly beautiful still dominate, as here in the childish state? Here blooms and sprouts the 'tree of life,' which was not tarnished by our 'tree of knowledge…”

“I advise all of our 'old men,' all the tired and backward in life's hard struggle, to get lost sometimes in this Garden of Eden at Kaliska 36. Consider the effervescent life of our Moishele and Shlomele, Ruchele and Leahele and take in the most heartfelt childish fantasies. I believe that unwillingly, one must be carried away by this storm, grow fresh wings to cut the air of life's struggles…!”

“The holiday started as usual with the lighting of the Chanukah candles by one of the children who was accompanied by music and the singing of the children's choir, which performed different recitations and the like. Then the children presented interesting scenes of [a] child's life. The march “In Vald Arein” (Into the Woods) made a touching impression. The children harness horses and wagons and drive into the woods; [they] cut down trees and drive home the wood, where it is cold and dark… They cut it up and soon a fire is burning. The room becomes warm and light. A party begins and they take each other's hands and a happy dance begins. This all comes before dancing and singing, and therefore the little faces shine and the eyes sparkle. With this memory, come the words of Bialik, “That we should be Jewish children, in your pure eyes…”

The picture of 'Sick Child' makes an affable, comedic impression, near which stands the mameshi (the mother). Mechele, the barber-surgeon comes in, taps the pulse, writes a prescription, decrees a diet and calms the mameshi, who drags in the sick child singing:

“Sleep my little bird.
Close your eyes.
Sleep my dear child.
The good king
Should be your protection
Sleep, sleep well”
“The last fantastic picture of 'the sleepy little children' is interesting. They sleep their calm and child-like sleep, but soon their dream-friends come springing in, small little angels, in white clothing, with little white wings. Singing and dancing, they bless the sleeping children with their heavenly secrets, and then the children dream sweet dreams. But, soon they hear the crying of the rooster, who calls the children to their duty, to work, and this golden thread of their dreams is interrupted. But, only for a time, while soon they start fantasizing. Their childish dreams and fantasies are all different. The rich children have completely different dreams. These children, the children of work and need often dream of bread and potatoes, of warm clothing and shoes… children who grow as flowers, without rain, without dew, without sunshine.”

“For these small chicks in the children's home, a warm, bright Garden of Eden, here they feel free as the birds. Here they are cared for with love and tenderness. Here they have almost everything, to which every child's heart and soul aspires… Here is a child's kingdom, which is led with motherly love and tenderness by the queen, Fräulein Vaga and the vice-queen, Fräulein Zharek.”

The committee and the apprentices of the children's home

From the right: Hershel Krojze, Y. Sz. Haze, Yosef Gaslowski, L. Wajnberg (Chairman)

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