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[Page 469]

Shlomoh Zaks

Hebrew text to be translated

In the circle of the family and very close acquaintances, the following episode would be told about Shlomoh Zaks.

Prince Lubomirski and the Princess took part in a wedding at the home of a very rich Jewish farm lessee on the Prince's estate. When the loud, lyrical voice of Hazan Shlomoh Zaks singing the blessings was carried from under the wedding canopy, the Princess could not conceal her amazement. In the morning, the Prince brought Shlomoh Zaks to the royal palace in a coach. There, the Princess asked him to sing a series of arias from well-known operas and she accompanied him on the piano.

Shlomoh Zaks would have sent back the coach if not for the pressure of acquaintances and [he would not have] gone to the royal palace… However, after the aria concert, when the Prince proposed to send him to study at the Warsaw Conservatory at the Prince's expense, Shlomoh Zaks nervously got up and quickly left the royal palace…

Rona Zombek (Zaks)

[Page 470}

Mendel Lakhman

Hebrew text to be translated

[Page 471]

Noakh Rubinsztajn

Hebrew text to be translated

[Page 472]

Party Workers

Translated by Gloria Berkenstat Freund

Itcze Orbakh

Itcze Orbakh, the modest hat maker, would have gone through life like hundreds of other ordinary people in Radomsk, if not for the fact that he was raised in a home where Polish was spoken. This fact resulted in Itcze Orbakh being the representative of the Jewish workers in the Radomsk City Council for many years.

This was right after the First World War, when the first democratic elections to the local self-managing committee took place. According to the election ordinances, a candidate for the City Council had to be at least 30 years old and there were not many members in the ranks of the Poalei-Zion party who were. And so the role fell on the Zionist-Workers Movement sympathizer, Itcze Orbakh, who was over 30 and had a good command of the Polish language. He willingly accepted the nomination and together with other members was elected to the first City Council in Radomsk.

For many years he had occasion to struggle for national and social rights for the Jewish workers and the struggle was not easy. It was necessary to argue not only with the anti-Semitic representatives in the City Council, but also with the “comrades” in the Polish Socialist Party, P.P.S., and others. Itcze Orbakh filled his mission with great responsibility and devotion. All his appearances on the forum of the City Council and in its committees were permeated with a feeling of national pride and social consciousness. Itcze Orbakh did not bend even to the dictatorial Azon clique that ruled with a strong hand against the Jewish population and, therefore, he always had the trust of the Jewish voters.

D. K.

Abraham-Benim Ajzen

Hebrew text to be translated

[Page 473]

Eli Alebarda

He was born in 1880 in Tomaszow-Mazowiecki, studied in the yeshiva in Łódź and received a rabbinical diploma while very young. However, heretical thoughts that were being spread by the Jewish weavers and other artisans reached him in the Beis-Midrash. Eli still sat at the open Gemera and secretly looked into the treife (Translator's note: unclean) books, too, which he held covertly.

Eli Alebarda

When the secret was uncovered, the young good teacher was driven from the Beis-Midrash. He was married immediately so that he would no longer stray from the righteous path. He was settled in Radomsk, where he was also provided with an income – an agricultural store.

However, once a revolutionary, always a revolutionary. Eli Alebarda remained a Jew externally, like all Jews; a long coat, a small Hasidic hat and a beautiful long yellow beard; a well-to-do middle class Jew, with a wife and 2 sons and 3 daughters, but he did not live the way others did.

In Czarist times, he took part in many of the most responsible and most serious work; the gendarmes visited him many times. His last work in this area was “organizing the border” for the delegates to the 8th convention of the Bund that was supposed to take place in Vienna in the summer of 1914 and did not take place because of the outbreak of the First World War.

Alebarda demonstrated his connection with the Bund often. In the revolutionary times of 1905, he would leave his business for the whole day, spend time on the “stock exchange” or marching in demonstrations and struggling against the dragoons and Cossacks. He also did not make any secret of his heresy and led a consistently free life.

Yet, in his younger years, he was seen from time to time on Shabbos mornings going with a talis bag under his arm. His road led to a secret apartment; soldiers from the Radomsk garrison were there. With a smile on his face, he took packs of revolutionary appeals to the military out of his talis bag that the members of the secret military organization spread in the barracks.

He was active in communal life for the entire time, helped every needy person, was extremely modest about it and would protest when he was called Reb Eli (“Do not call me Reb,” he would scold).

Alebarda settled in Częstochowa in the last years before the Second World War. When the Germans took the city and began their reign of terror, the old revolutionary placed himself completely in the service of the underground Bundist movement. He walled in a good radio apparatus in the attic of his house in order for the Jewish population to know what was happening in the world.

(Page 474]

With energy he spread the secret appeals of the underground Bund.

Here an obstacle occurred. A Polish woman who distributed the appeals of the underground Bund was arrested and as a result revealed the name of a Częstochower worker. From the worker, who the Gestapo terribly tortured, it was learned that Alebarda had a connection with the matter. It was demanded of the Judenrat that it deliver Alebarda, but a friend warned him and he left the city. His last words when saying goodbye to his family were a promise not to carry any resentment for the arrested comrade because they had torn out his nails, caused him other pains and he simply could not hold out.

Eli Alebarda left for Piotrków, for Sulejow and in the end for Warsaw where he again joined with the underground Bundist movement. In the Warsaw Ghetto, where he lived under the name “Alpe,” he succeeded in remaining until the Ghetto Uprising (in 1943), Then he left for the “Aryen” side. Thanks to the underground Polish Socialist Party (P.P.S.) he remained among the Poles until the summer of 1944 when the Warsaw Uprising broke out.

Every trace disappeared of this special revolutionary Eli Alebarda, who in his young years prepared to become a rabbi. He gave his life in the struggle against the inhuman Nazi enemy.

A. C.

Dovid and Nakhman Gold

The young spontaneously came to life when Radomsk was occupied by the Austrian Army during the First World War (1914). A movement of cultural activity arose and the brothers Nakhman and Dovid Gold stood at the very center of this movement.

The two brothers were caught by the Haskhalah (Translator's note: the Enlightenment) even earlier, sitting by the Gemera in the Gerer shtibl, and led cultural activities among the shtibl-sitters and the young men in the Beis-Midrash. Later, the Gold brothers, with their dynamic strength, were the living nerve of the work.

With the founding of the Library and of the organization Kultura, Dovid was occupied as its head. Thanks to his knowledge and intensive work, all circles of the Jewish progressive population were concentrated around the Library and there they derived their cultural and national fulfillment.

The beginning of the revival of all Jewish workers' parties began in 1916 and Kultura was a collection point for their activities. This had a bad effect on the impartial cultural activity and the Gold brothers did not remain indifferent to this phenomenon. They called the young to Zeiri-Zion, which was concentrated around the Zionist school, Beis-Yakov.

Nakhman became a member of the Central Committee of Zeiri-Zion in Warsaw.

In 1920 he managed the Palestine office in Krakow.

Dovid left Radomsk in 1917 and became the chief secretary for the Central Committee of Zeiri-Zion in Warsaw. He fulfilled that assignment until he left Poland and made aliyah to Eretz-Yisroel.

Both Gold brothers brought with them to Eretz-Yisroel their great “baggage” of national and cultural knowledge. However, bitter fate wanted these two blooming trees to be prematurely cut down in their best years…

Abner Gurfinkel

Abner Gurfinkel was a Zionist community worker, the one who revived the Zionist organization in our city in the last years of the war, a tireless shnorer (Translator's note: beggar) for the National Fund. After kheder, he joined Freiheit and there he received his Zionist education.

Abner Gurfinkel was a quiet hero in the ghetto, a friend willing to sacrifice for the helpless and persecuted. In the atrocious ghetto conditions, he went on his own difficult path, first of all – as far as he could from the Judenrat.

[Page 475]

He categorically refused to work with even the most important committee, feeling instinctively that “sin begets sin,” and that that which today seems innocent is subject to change, to become through the assassins an instrument for a horrible purpose. This attitude caused him to disconnect from relationships in the ghetto.

Standing with his back to the ghetto rulers, he turned his face to the persecuted and tortured. And this face always expressed belief and courage, although his heart was always filled with anxiety and fear. In the dark ghetto, where everyone struggled to survive, Abner, first of all, cared for the sick, the helpless, the old and the orphans. He gave away his own shirt and shared his last bite.

Abner Gurfinkel was sent with the last Radomsker Jews to Pawiak and there, too, kept faith with himself and his suffering comrades. Shabbos festivity radiated from him on his last day. He was later sent away to Auschwitz and there perished.

Y. M.

Melekh Grosman

Hebrew text to be translated

Yakov-Shmuel Haze

Yakov-Shmuel Haze, a son of Shimon Haze, studied to be a goldsmith with his father after finishing school and was drawn into the ranks of the Jewish workers' movement as a representative in the municipal organs. He was a lawnik, that is, a member of the city managing committee (Translator's note: City Hall) through many terms. Taking into account that during this time he represented more than one party, he always courageously defended Jewish worker interests and did not bend before the regimes of the left or right. That is how he performed during the entire time between the First and Second World Wars, until the Hitlerist hordes annihilated all who lived and all who had an effect on Jewish life.

Yakov-Shmuel Haze and his family survived the Second World War by hiding in a bunker. He emerged physically free, and spiritually broken and died during the first year after the liberation.

D. K.

Adash Horowicz

Adash Horowicz was raised in an assimilated home. His father was an official in the Ferszter firm and he and his second brother ran a photographic business. The third brother studied painting in Rome, Paris and other places.

Adash Horowicz was drawn to the Jewish workers movement at the time of the First World War, learned Yiddish and for many years was the representative of Fareinikte in the City Council. Together with other Jewish worker representatives, he defended the rights and requirements of the Jewish workers and the masses.

He perished together with his family in the general annihilation of the Jews.

D. K.

[Page 476]

Abraham-Moishe Waksman

Hebrew text to be translated

Yehiel Tiger

Yehiel Tiger came from a revolutionary family. However, he was honestly devoted to the ideas of Poalei-Zion. He was very reticent in the organization, seldom took part in the discussions; yet he was almost always elected to the party agencies. He was always ready to carry out any work with which he was entrusted, not stopping for any impediments. Because of his devotion, he was beloved in all worker circles.

As Poalei-Zion carried on widespread economic activities, created food cooperatives, a bakery and the like, Yehiel Tiger was one of those who showed the greatest energy and initiative. He was then elected from P.Z. in Radomsk to the City Council and there defended the general interests of the Jewish working masses.

D. K.

Dovid Kohn

Dovid Kohn, a tinsmith by trade, was a member of Fareinikte and the confident of Dr. Yosef Kruk. There was a time when Dovid Kohn alone supported this organization with his money. Later, when many members of Fareinikte left the city, Dovid Kohn was almost the only one who maintained contact with the Center, representing his organization with honor.

During the entry of the Hitler Army, the German assassins murderously beat him on the road to Częstochowa. He did not recover. In 1940 he breathed out his soul. His wife and little daughters perished in Częstochowa. Yakov Liberman

R. K.

Yakov Liberman

Hebrew text to be translated

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