Intelligentsia Mass Graves at Częstochowa Jewish Cemetery Restored

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June 14, 2023

Words: Alon Goldman, The Matzevah Foundation Photos: Asia Sidorowicz

A ceremony was held, at the Częstochowa Jewish Cemetery, to consecrate the three restored mass graves of Częstochowa Jewish intelligentsia who were murdered by the Nazis, at the cemetery, during Purim, on 20th March 1943.

To learn more about the circumstances surrounding these murders, click HERE.

The ceremony took place in presence of the Częstochowa Deputy Mayor, Dr. Ryszard Stefaniak, Advisor to the Częstochowa Mayor on Jewish Community Affairs, Jolanta Urbańska, Chair of the Częstochowa branch of the TSKŻ,  Izabela Sobańska-Klekowska and representative of the Embassy of Israel in Poland, Elena Lagutin.

The restoration of two of the mass graves was funded by the Polish government, while the other was funded by the Cohen family of the United States.

During the ceremony, El Male Rachamim was recited by Rabbi David Szychowski, while World Society Vice-President, Alon Goldman, recited Kaddish in memory of Częstochowa Holocaust victims



Nissenbaum Family Foundation Workers Aid in Clean-Up of Częstochowa Jewish Cemetery

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June 2, 2023

Words: Alon Goldman Pictures: Krzysztof Strauss

This week, the clean-up work at the Częstochowa Jewish Cemetery continued with aid from the Nissenbaum Family Foundation.

Responding to a request from World Society Vice-President Alon Goldman, a team of skilled workers from the Foundation spent two days working at our Cemetery – and they worked wonders!

The team focused on professional tasks which the students could not do such as cutting down trees which had fallen to the ground or trees which were broken and were leaning on one side. They also pruned bushes and branches in order to prepare them for removal from the cemetery.

For many years, the area to the left of the cemetery entrance has not been revealed in this way.  This resultant clearing will allow Alon, upon his return, to endeavour to locate new gravestones which, until today, have been hidden by the thick vegetation.

The Nissenbaum Family Foundation was founded in 1983, with the aim of saving Jewish testimonies and heritage in Poland. It was the first foundation established in Poland after World War II and, for years, its activities have been focused on the restoration and protection of Jewish cemeteries throughout Poland.

We sincerely thank Gidon Nissenbaum and Wojciech Łygaś
for their positive response to our request to lend us such an important helping hand.

The next work week will take place between 12th-16th June 2023. During that week, Alon Goldman will be assisted by Pastor Steven Reece and volunteers from the MATZEVAH Foundation from the USA, Pawel Kulig and volunteers from the Guardians of Remembrance Foundation from Lodz, our friends the volunteers of Fundacja Chrześcijańska Adullam of Częstochowa and students from Częstochowa high schools.


Częstochowa Students Clean Up Jewish Cemetery

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May 25, 2023

Source:: Alon Goldman

This year’s first concentrated cleaning work at the Częstochowa Jewish cemetery took place on 22nd-25th May 2023.  The work was a joint operation involving the Association of Częstochowa Jews in Israel, the City of Częstochowa and the city’s Education Department, a collaboration which began in June 2022.

Around one  hundred students, from four Częstochowa high schools participated in the concentrated work : General Anders High School,  Jan Kochanowski High School, K. Puławski Mechanics and Electrical High School and the Automotive Professions High School.

The purpose of the project and the involvement of the students was not only to clean the cemetery, but also to allow the youth of Częstochowa to learn about Częstochowa’s multicultural history and the contribution of the city’s Jewish community in the life of the city and its development over the years.  As part of the project, the students also received a lecture on the subject from the historian Wiesław Paszkowski.

 

This week of work could not have come to fruition without the efforts of several dear friends of the World Society: Rafał Piotrowski – head of the Education Department of the City of Częstochowa, Izabela Sobańska-Klekowska – Chair of the Częstochowa branch of the TSKŻ, Cr. Jolanta Urbańska – Deputy Chair of the Częstochowa City Council and advisor to the Mayor on Jewish community issues, Elżbieta Ferenc – Director of the Adullam Foundation of Częstochowa; Iwona Brzezowska  – Principal of General Anders High School and Robert Kamela of the Adullam Foundation from Częstochowa.

Our sincere thanks to all the students and teachers who took part in this activity. 
Your involvement is greatly appreciated and is not to be taken for granted.

The next work week will take place between 12th-16th June 2023. This week, Alon Goldman will be assisted by Pastor Steven Reece and volunteers from the MATZEVAH Foundation from the USA, Pawel Kulig and volunteers from the Guardians of Remembrance Foundation from Lodz, our friends the volunteers of Fundacja Chrześcijańska Adullam of Częstochowa and students from Częstochowa high schools.


Częstochowa Roundabout Named in Honour of Leon Silberstein

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April 26, 2023

Source: czestochowanaszemiasto.pl

By a decision of the Częstochowa City Council, a Częstochowa roundabout has been named in honour of Leon Silberstein, one of the most important organisers of the resistance movement in the Częstochowa ghetto.

The Council resolution was adopted on 26th April 2023. Jolanta Urbańska, Vice-President of the City Council and consultant to the Mayor of Częstochowa on Jewish community matters, was the originator of the proposal.

Information from the Częstochowa History Documentation Centre, states  that:

“Leon Zylbersztajn, a Częstochowa entrepreneur, a member of the underground in the Częstochowa ghetto, a man who saved people during the liquidation of the ghetto in September and October 1942, certainly deserves commemoration”.

From 1942, during and after the liquidation of the Częstochowa ghetto, Leon Silberstein saved hundreds of Jewish lives, including that of Zygmunt Rolat (Honorary Citizen of the City of Częstochowa). Silberstein himself lost two sons during World War II, who were both brutally murdered.

The Council resolution is part of the 2023 commemorations, established by the Polish Senate, as the Year of Remembrance of the Heroes of the Warsaw Ghetto.


Częstochowa TSKŻ Commemorates 80th Anniversary of Warsaw Ghetto Uprising

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April 19, 2023

Source: Izabela Sobańska-Klekowska & Jolanta Urbańska

The Częstochowa branch of the TSKŻ commemorated the 80th anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising
by organising a ceremony at the Częstochowa Jewish Memorial.

Members of the Częstochowa TSKŻ were joined, in the ceremony, by representatives of local government, other organisations and schools, as well as members of the Częstochowa community.


Częstochowa TSKŻ Commemorates the Events of March'68

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March 27, 2023

Source: Izabela Sobańska-Klekowska

The student rally, held at the University of Warsaw on 8th March 1968, which was brutally suppressed by the communist government headed by Władysław Gomułka, turned out to be a spark which ignited one of the most complex socio-political crises in Poland’s post-War history. This crisis resulted in the pacification of Polish intellectual life and in the forced migration of 13,000 Polish Jews, who had fallen victim to the government’s brutal antisemitic campaign.

The Częstochowa TSKŻ commemorated the 55th anniversary of this event.

On 17th March 2023, members heard Częstochowa TSKŻ chairwoman, Izabela Sobańska-Klekowska deliver a lecture on “Częstochowa Echoes of March’68”. Sitting at a common table, they listened to the history of those who left Poland with a one-way passport. Discussion included the Gdańsk Railway Station in Warsaw, which was the departure point for most of those emigrants and also learned about the plaque there, which commemorates the site. Following the lecture, members recalled their friends who had left Częstochowa at that time.

On 27th March 2023, the Częstochowa TSKŻ invited its member to a lecture by historian, Wiesław Paszkowski, on “The Origins of March’68”. The event was attended by Dr Zdzisław Wolski, a member of the Polish parliament, who spoke about his friends who had left at that time, and by Ms Jolanta Urbańska, Deputy Chairwoman of the Częstochowa City Council and special advisor to the Częstochowa Mayor on the Jewish community and on Jewish affairs.

Wiesław Paszkowski spoke about the events, moods and the political situation which resulted in the mass escape, from Poland, of persecuted Jews.



Righteous Families Honoured in Częstochowa

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March 24, 2023

Words and photographs: Alon Goldman Video: Orion TV

In Poland, each year since 2018, 24th March is commemorated as the “Day of Poles Who Saved Jews During the German Occupation”.

So it was appropriate that this day was chosen to unveil a plaque in memory of two families, who had already been honoured with the title of “Righteous Among the Nations”. The event was co-organised by the Częstochowa City Council and the Institute of National Remembrance (IPN).

The plaque, honouring the memory and deeds of the Brust and Mielczarek families, was placed on the wall of the Częstochowa House of Culture on ul. Łukasińska and was unveiled in the presence of Częstochowa Deputy Mayor, Dr Ryszard Stefaniak, Deputy Chair of the Częstochowa City Council, Jolanta Urbańska and Artur Hołubiczko, commander of the Częstochowa Straż Miejska (City Guard) and grandson of some of  those honoured.

Click HERE to read the stories of rescue of both families.

Below is how Częstochowa’s Orion TV covered the event.


Częstochowa TSKŻ Celebrates Purim

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March 7, 2023

Source: Izabela Sobańska-Klekowska

Purim 5783 was celebrated by the Częstochowa TSKŻ, on 7th March 2023, in an evening which was both celebratory and joyous. All TSKŻ members received noise-makers and funny masks, while the children came in costumes.

The meeting began with the story of the beautiful and brave Queen Esther, who saved the Jewish nation from extermination. While the story was being told, everyone traditionally drowned out the name of the Amalekite Haman with stomping, noise and humming. There had to be cheerful music, and we were graced with a concert by Urszula Makosz, with the band “Hajnt iz PURIM – Today is PURIM”. We listened to Purim and Sephardic, songs in Hebrew, Polish and Ladino. The atmosphere was extremely joyful.

Following the concert, commemorative photographs were taken, followed by traditional refreshment, which included hamantashen and other delicacies. According to tradition, everyone tasted the wine, while repeating “Baruch Mordechai, Arur Haman” [“Blessed is Mordechai, cursed is Haman”].

Late in the evening, everyone left in good spirits, wishing each other “Chag Purim Sameach”!



Częstochowa Commemorates Holocaust Remembrance Day

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January 27, 2023

Words: Andrew Rajcher Photographs: Częstochowa City Council
 

Holocaust Remembrance Day was commemorated in Częstochowa, on 27th January 2023, with the laying of wreathes and the lighting of candles at the monument on Plac Bohaterów Getta (Ghetto Heroes Square). This was once the site of the entrance to the “Small Ghetto”.

Participants in the ceremony included representatives of the Częstochowa City Council, the World Society of Częstochowa Jews and Their Descendants, the Częstochowa Museum, the Częstochowa branch of the Social-Cultural Association of Jews in Poland (TSKŻ), as well as local residents of Częstochowa.



Willenberg Exhibition Opens in Częstochowa

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January 26, 2023

Words and photographs: Andrew Rajcher
 

Coinciding with the eve of Holocaust Remembrance Day, the exhibition, “Samuel Willenberg – a Hero of Two Nations”, opened in Częstochowa’s Town Hall on Thursday evening, 26th January 2023.

Sponsored by the Częstochowa Museum and the Częstochowa branch of the Social-Cultural Association of Jews in Poland (TSKŻ), the exhibition will remain open until 12th February 2023.

Webmaster’s note: I was very proud to attend this event as Samuel “Samek” Willenberg z”l went to school with my mother, Dora Rajcher z”l (nee Moszkowicz) and Samuel’s father, Perec Willenberg z”l, was my mother’s art teacher. During numerous trips to Israel, I was always invited into the Willenberg home and have many happy memories of those occasions.