"Czenstochower Yizkerbuch" - a Yizkor Book Like No Other

aragorn

July 3, 2022

Sources: Mark W. Kiel

Chonon Kiel z”l (1908-1998), formerly Kielczygłowski, was born to a merchant family in Częstochowa. During the war, his family dispersed. Chonon fled to the Soviet-occupied sector of Poland, but was deported to a gulag. When he was freed from the gulag in 1942, Częstochowa Jewry was being annihilated. He married before the war and had a daughter, Ruth. Her mother, Sarka, was murdered in Auschwitz, while Ruth survived in a convent.

Having survived the war, he married his deceased wife’s sister, Liza and, together with his daughter, settled permanently in New York, where his son, Mark, was born in 1948.

Chonon was truly multi-talented. He was best known as a Yiddish poet and lecturer. As an artist, he worked in numerous media. He illustrated journals and designed covers for his colleague’s books.

In the Yizkerbukh, the text and iconography become an instrument of eternal remembrance. He executed the tome in watercolour, pastel, crayon, magic marker, pencil, and pen and ink.

As Survivors began to die, some families insisted that the names of the recently departed, as well as those who had died before the war, be included – along with those who had perished in the Holocaust. Although this was contrary to Kiel’s initial vision of the book as a strictly Holocaust memorial, he was flexible and acceded to their wishes.

The illustrations, as illuminated manuscripts do, shift the experience of remembering to a complementary aesthetic experience through a symbolism readily recognisable to the Survivors.

For the Survivors, the words are primary and are the whole point of Yizkor. But, as the Survivor generation fades, for others, those who have no personal connection to the names, the illustrations take the forefront.

Nevertheless, the recurrent words of the translated Hebrew and Yiddish texts serve as a powerful reminder of the book’s original purpose.

With the artist’s guidance, Survivors found their authentic voice reflected in the traditional pictorial and textual vocabulary of the book.

For Chonon Kiel, creating the Yizkerbukh was not only a labour of love, but also, undoubtedly, a catharsis, a relief from the pain and longing that was always with him over the loss of his beloved Czenstochow.

“CZENSTOCHOWER YIZKERBUKH”

HAS BEEN PUBLISHED, IN LIMITED EDITION (125 pages),

BY THE AUTHOR’S SON, MARK W. KIEL.

COPIES CAN BE PURCHASED BY EMAILING MARK: rwmk@aol.com

COST: US $42 per copy (plus tax and the cost of shipping)



2022 Częstochowa Jewish Cemetery Clean-Up

aragorn

June 12, 2022

Words: Alon Goldman Photographs: Asia Sidorowicz and Steven D. Reece

On an almost annual basis, Alon Goldman, Vice-President of the World Society of Częstochowa Jews & Their Descendants and Chairman of the Association of Częstochowa Jews is Israel, has organised and led a clean-up of the Częstochowa Jewish cemetery. Over time, Alon has been joined by volunteers from various organisations, both adults and young people in this holy work.


DAY 1: Tuesday, 7th June 2022

The work of cleaning up the Częstochowa Jewish Cemetery has begun.

On the first day of the work, Alon was joined by our dedicate partner, Dr Steven Rees of the Matzevah Foundation, the World Society’s great friend in preserving our Jewish heritage Krzysztof Straus, members of the ADULLAM Foundation of Częstochowa and students of the M. Skłodowska-Curie Zespół Szkół Gastronomicznych, the VIII Liceum Ogólnoksztacące Samorządowe in Częstochowa, the ZSE-Zespół Szkół Ekonomicznych in Częstochowa, the Romuald Traugutt II Liceum in Częstochowa and the Zespół Szkół Technicznych in Częstochowa.

Today, work was carried out in a particularly difficult area, containing extremely dense vegetation. Following the removal of this vegetation, two discoveries were made:

    • the base of a mass grave from the 1919 pogrom, and
    • a water well, which had served the Bet Tahara (House of Purity), in which the deceased were prepared for burial.


DAY 2: Wednesday, 8th June 202

The second day’s work in Częstochowa Jewish Cemetery came with a challenge – the rain.

Despite this, the challenge was overcome together with Dr Steven Rees of the Matzevah Foundation, members of the ADULLAM Foundation of Częstochowa and high school students of the VIII Liceum Ogólnoksztacące Samorządowe in Częstochowa, the Zespół Szkół Samochdowych-Budowlanych in Częstochowa, the Romuald Traugutt II Liceum in Częstochowa and the TZN-Techniczne Zaklady Naukowe in Częstochowa

Work continued in an area where the vegetation was particularly dense. Slowly, the area was exposed and tombstones, which had previously been hidden by that thick vegetation, were exposed.

Today’s work was greatly assisted by a mulching machine, which was hired in order to dispose of the waste from the vegetation and tree branches.


DAY 3: Thursday, 9th June 2022

The weather eases up a little, but the rain continues intermittently. Today, we were joined by student volunteers from the Gen. W. Anders Zespół Szkół in Częstochowa, the Zespół Szkół Technicznych in Częstochowa and the Jan Kochanowski Zespół Szkół in Częstochowa.

We had the honor of hosting the Israeli Ambassador to Poland, Yacov Livne, who, with Alon Goldman, visited the city’s Jewish heritage site. The highlight of the day was the unveiling ceremony of the re-built tomb of the mass grave of the fighters, who, 22nd April 1943, attacked the Eastern Railway (Ostbahn).

                  • Click HERE to read about the operation in English, Polish and Hebrew.
                  • Click HERE to view the unveiling ceremony of the re-built monument.


DAY 4: Friday, 10th June 2022

Today, the weather was pleasant, which enabled the work to continue apace. A particular highlight for our World Society Vice-President, Alon Goldman. In the area that had been cleared of thick vegetation, he found the graves and matzevot of his great-great-great-grandparents, Izaak Dov and Chana Glikson. Such a great find rewarding Alon’s long and hard work for our Częstochowa Jewish Cemetery.

Also, Aleksandra Kaczmarek, from the Zespół Szkół Samochdowych-Budowlanych in Częstochowa, managed to uncover and clean the matzevah of Łucja Gradshtein, who died on 12th October 1902, when she was 16 years old.

Many of the matzevot are extremely heavy and, when uncovered, require a real team effort to turn them over and to prevent any further damage.

Again, many  thanks to the volunteers from the Adullam Foundation of Częstochowa,  led by Robert Kamela, and also to the students from  Gen. W. Anders Zespół Szkół , the Stefan Żeromski Zespół Szkół Technicznych i Ogólokształcących, the Zespół Szkół Samochdowych-Budowlanych in Częstochowa and, of course, to our partner Pastor Dr Steven D. Reece.


DAY 5: Sunday, 12th June 2022

The rain is falling, but the work continues nonetheless.

Today was people’s day, where we invited the people of Częstochowa to join us in the clean-up of the Częstochowa Jewish Cemetery.

We were also joined by “Team Tadeusz” – a group of twenty-eight wonderful people, who traveled by bus (supplied by Alon Goldman) more than 120 kilometres, from Łódź to Częstochowa, to help us in our holy task. We sincerely thank Tadeusz Ołubek for organising his amazing team.


DAY 6: Monday, 14th June 2022

Volunteers from the Adullam Foundation of Częstochowa and students from the Jan Kochanowski Zespół Szkół in Częstochowa are mainly engaged in collecting branches left in piles. The mulching machine continues to operate non-stop, grinding the piles of branches created by “Team Tadeusz” on Sunday.

If there are still branches to be cleared away and mulched, some clean-up will take place tomorrow.

As this was the final day of our 2022 clean-up, it’s appropriate to thank many people:

              • our World Society Vice-President, Alon Goldman
              • Adullam Foundation of Częstochowa
              • the Matzevah Foundation
              • the director of the Gen. W. Anders Zespół Szkół, who assisted in recruiting the high school students for the work
              • all the amazing teachers and students from the various Częstochowa schools
              • Tadeusz Ołubek and his wonderful cleaning team from Lódź
              • Rafał Piotrowski, head of the Częstochowa Municipal Education Department, and Iwona Brzeżowska
              • Andrzej Szczerba, director of the Environment Protection Department for his help in the removal of waste from the cemetery
              • Asia Sidorowicz (pic above), for her wonderful photography, documenting the event,
              • and our partner Pastor Dr Steven D. Reece, who is so committed to preserving Jewish heritage and Christian-Jewish dialogue.

Thank you everyone and we hope to see you all again next year!


Together, with your support, we can do much more!

!יחד עם התמיכה שלכם נוכל לעשות הרבה יותר

The Association of Częstochowa Jews in Israel supports these works by financing the purchase of tools and gloves,
as well as protection against ticks and mosquitoes.

We also hire skilled aborists and mulching machines as needed.

Together, with your support and contribution, we can do more! A donation to support our activities can be made as detailed below:


Unveiling of Rebuilt "Operation Ostbahn" Victims' Tombstone

aragorn

June 9, 2022

Words: Alon Goldman Photos: Asia Sidorowicz
 

An unveiling ceremony took place today at the Częstochowa Jewish Cemetery. Unveiled was the rebuilt tombstone on the mass grave of the victims of “Operation Ostbahn” which took place on 23rd April 1943.

The ceremony took place in the presence of the Israeli Ambassador to Poland, Mr. Yacov Livne, and with the participation of the Deputy Mayor of Częstochowa, Dr. Ryszard Stefaniak, Deputy Chair of the Częstochowa City Council, Ms. Jolanta Urbańska, Chair of the Częstochowa branch of the TSKŻ, Ms. Izabela Sobańska-Klekowska, Rabbi Yehoshua Ellis and many other guests.

To learn more about “Operation Ostbahn” (in English, Polish and Hebrew), click HERE

The event was also attended by many students,
who came with their school banners, with students from the J. Słowacki Liceum performing a number of songs.

The renewal of this tombstone is the result of the hard work, with the Polish authorities, of Alon Goldman over the past two years.
He is currently working to renew the four tombstones of the mass graves of the intelligentsia.

The World Society sincerely thanks the City of Częstochowa, which organised this dignified and moving ceremony.


Częstochowa Commemorates 79th Anniversary of Warsaw Ghetto Uprising

aragorn

April 21, 2022

Source: Jolanta Urbańska Photographs: Asia Sidorowicz

Ceremonies commemorating the 79th anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising were held in Częstochowa on Samuel Willenberg Square, at the Memorial to the Jews of Częstochowa.

The event was organised by the Częstochowa branch of the Social and Cultural Association of Jews in Poland, Częstochowa branch. The City of Częstochowa was represented Deputy Mayor Dr. Ryszard Stefaniak and Jolanta Urbańska, Deputy Chair of the Częstochowa City Council.

According to Cr. Urbańska,  advisor to the Częstochowa Mayor on Jewish community matters, “The Warsaw Ghetto Uprising broke out on 19th April 1943, however the Częstochowa commemoration took place two days later for a good reason. Students and young people were free on that day and we wanted them to participate in this event. It is important that they know the history, especially in the face of the current events in Ukraine”.

Later, young people from Częstochowa schools presented an artistic program. The commemoration concluded with the laying of flowers and symbolic yellow daffodils at the monument.

And this is how local Częstochowa television station, ORION TV, covered the event:


2022 - The Year of Bronisław Huberman

aragorn

January 28, 2022

Source: Alon Goldman, Photographs: Agnieszka Małasiewicz / Filharmonia Częstochowska

In the calendar of the Częstochowa Philharmonic, 2022 is a unique year. This year marks two anniversaries relating to the patron of the Philharmonic – the outstanding violinist, Częstochowa-born, Bronisław Huberman. It marks 140 years since his birth and 75 years since his death.

Inaugurating this extraordinary year, on 28th January 2022, a ceremonial concert was held
featuring artistic ensembles of the Częstochowa Philharmonic and soloists, under the direction of Conductor Adam Klocek.

The concert repertoire included works by Brahms, Mahler and Bernstein.

Present at this event and greeting the guests were Krzysztof Matyjaszczyk, Mayor of Częstochowa,
and Tal Yaalon Ben-Ari, Chargé d’Affaires of the Embassy of Israel in Poland.



Częstochowa TSKŻ Celebrates Chanukah

aragorn

December 2, 2021

Source: Alon Goldman

Albeit it under COVID-19 restrictions, the fifth candle of this year’s Chanukah celebrations was lit at the Częstochowa branch of the TSKŻ (the Social-Cultural Association of Jews in Poland), at its headquarters at ul. Katedralna 8, in the building which is also home to the Jewish Museum of Częstochowa.

As reported by Izabela Sobańska-Klekowska, Chair of the Częstochowa branch of the TSKŻ, , the event was attended by friends of the Częstochowa Jewish community, Elżbieta Ferenc,  President of the Adullam Foundation of Częstochowa, Krzysztof Straus, representing the Częstochowa Memory and Renewal Foundation, Iwona Brzezowska, Principal of the General Anders High School, a delegation from Słowacki High School, TSKŻ members and friends.

The candles were lit by Ania Goldman and Marek Niczke, with the band Stentido playing Chanukah songs. The evening ended by everyone enjoying Chanukah donuts and other holiday treats.



Irit Amiel Poetry and Prose Recitation Competition - Presentation Event

aragorn

October 6, 2021

Sources: Alon Goldman, Jolanta Urbańska

In a ceremony held at the TSKŻ rooms at the Częstochowa Jewish Museum, prizes were presented to the winners of the student competition reciting the poetry and prose of Częstochowa Holocaust survivor, Irit Amiel z”l. The event was held for elementary and  high schools in the lead-up to the 80th anniversary of the liquidation of the Częstochowa Ghetto.

The competition organiser was the Częstochowa Municipal Education Department, in conjunction with the Częstochowa Branch of the TSKŻ (Social-Cultural Association of Jews in Poland) and the Juliusz Słowacki Comprehensive Senior High School. under the auspices of Association of Częstochowa Jews in Israel.

To learn more about Irit Amiel z”l, click HERE.

Sixteen schools participated in the competition, entitled “From a Distance of Life and One Street”, based on the works of the late Częstochowa-born author  Irit Amiel z”l. Seventy-two symbolic graphic works, commemorating the existence and torments of the Częstochowa Ghetto, were also submitted by the schools under the title of “Ghetto – People – Remembrance”.

Prizes donated by the Association of Częstochowa Jews in Israel were presented to the winners by Rafał Piotrowski, head of the Częstochowa Municipal Education Department, Jolanta Urbańska, Deputy Chair of the Częstochowa City Council, Izabela Sobańska-Klekowska, Chair of the Częstochowa Branch of the Social and Cultural Association of Polish Jews (TSKZ), Krzysztof Straus,  of the Foundation for the Preservation of Jewish Heritage and Renewal in Częstochowa and Małgorzata Kaim, Principal of the Juliusz Słowacki Comprehensive Senior High School.

The event also featured performances by the student choir and orchestra of Słowacki High School.


Częstochowa and Tel Aviv Commemorate 79th Anniversary of Częstochowa Ghetto Liquidation

aragorn

September 22, 2021

Sources: Alon Goldman, Jolanta Urbańska

Ceremonies took place in both Częstochowa and Tel Aviv commemorating the 79th anniversary of the liquidation of the Częstochowa ghetto.

In Częstochowa, the ceremony took place at the Jewish Holocaust Memorial on Samuel Willenberg Square. This is the site from where around 40,000 Jews were deported, in six transports of cattle trains, to their deaths in the Treblinka extermination camp.

Those participating in the Częstochowa ceremony included Częstochowa Deputy Mayor Dr. Ryszard Stefaniak, Deputy Chair of the Częstochowa City Council Ms. Jolanta Urbanska, Chair of the Częstochowa Branch of the Association for Jewish Culture (TSKŻ) Ms. Izabela Sobańska-Klekowska, students from Częstochowa’s Słowacki and General Anders High Schools, as well as members of the Częstochowa Jewish Community and friends, who value and respect Częstchowa’s Jewish history and legacy.

At the Nahalat Yitzhak Cemetery in Tel Aviv, a ceremony took place at the monument erected by Częstochowa Holocaust Survivors. Vice-President of our World Society and Chairman of the Association of Częstochowa Jews in Israel, Alon Goldman, recited “Kaddish” in memory of those who perished. He was accompanied by Ada Willenberg, wife of the late Samuel Willenberg z”l, creator of the Holocaust monument in Częstochowa.


Vale Ireneusz Kozera (1952-2021)

aragorn

September 20, 2021

Sources: Filharmonia Częstochowska im. Bronisława Hubermana, Prof. Jerzy Mizgalski, Alon Goldman
Photos: G. Skowronek (Gazeta Wyborcza),
Filharmonia Częstochowska

It is with great sorrow that we have learned of the sudden passing of Ireneusz Kozera b.p., a longtime great friend of our World Society and of the Jewish community in Częstochowa. For many years, he served as the Director of the Bronisław Huberman Częstochowa Philharmonic. Prior to that, he served as Head of the Culture Department of the Częstochowa City Council.

He passed away just prior to his planned retirement.

Anyone who attended any of our World Society’s Reunions will have met Ireneusz in either of his capacities. His active contributions helped to ensure that our Reunions were as successful as they were. Ireneusz was also a true friend of the small Jewish community of Częstochowa.

He was our trusted partner in many activities aimed at preserving the city’s Jewish heritage. During his career, he was honoured with numerous awards acknowledging his commitment and activities.

In his honour, the Częstochowa Philharmonic will present the “Ireneusz Kozera Memorial Concert” on Friday 24th September 2021, at 7:00 pm. The program will feature the Baltic Neopolis Virtuosi, with concertmasters Emanuel Salvador and Adam Klocek, playing Schubert’s Quartet Movement in C Minor for String Orchestra and Schubert’s String Quintet in C Major for String Orchestra.

May Irek’s memory be a blessing to all who knew him and, in our Jewish tradition, we wish his family “long life”.



Irit Amiel Poetry and Prose Recitation Competition

aragorn

September 20, 2021

Sources: Juliusz Słowacki Comprehnsive Senior High School, Alon Goldman

One of the events leading up to the commemoration of the 80th anniversary of the liquidation of the Częstochowa ghetto was a student competition reciting the poetry and prose of Częstochowa Holocaust survivor, Irit Amiel z”l. The event took place in the Zofia Idzikowska Auditorium of the Juliusz Słowacki Comprehensive Senior High School.

The competition organiser was the Częstochowa Municipal Education Department, in conjunction with the Częstochowa Branch of the TSKŻ (Social-Cultural Association of Jews in Poland) and the Juliusz Słowacki Comprehensive Senior High School.

The competition was divided into two categories: Recitation and Derivation From the Word.

To learn more about Irit Amiel z”l, click HERE.

The competition Judging Panel comprised Deputy Chair of the Częstochowa City Council and Consultant to the Council on the Częstochowa Jewish Community  Ms. Jolanta Urbanska, Chair of the Częstochowa Branch of the Association for Jewish Culture (TSKŻ) Ms. Izabela Sobańska-Klekowska Literary Secretary of the Adam Mickiewicz Theatre  Ms. Ewa Oleś, who is  co-scriptwriter of the film “Map of Childhood” dedicated to Irit Amiel,  Ms. Dorota Chamoń, and Ms. Agnieszka Łuczak-Wielgórka, both teachers at the Juliusz Słowacki High School.

Competition winners were:

RECITATION

1st place: Aleksander Kopeć, K.K.Baczyński No. 2 Elementary School, Częstochowa
2nd place: Zuzanna Kowalczyk, A.Mickiewicz No.1 Elementary School, Krzepice
Equal 3rd place: Antonina Grywacz, No.27 Elementary School, Częstochowa
Equal 3rd place: Klaudia Rachwał, No.1 School and Pre-School Complex, Częstochowa

DERIVATION FROM THE WORD

1st place: Łucja Aftowicz, Armia Krajowa No.48 Elementary School, Częstochowa

Awards and certificates will be presented on 6th October 2021, at the rooms of the Częstochowa Branch of the TSKŻ (Social-Cultural Association of Jews in Poland), during an major event summarising the series of events connected with the Year of Remembrance for the Victims of the Częstochowa Ghetto.