Help Needed for Memorial Project in Częstochowa

aragorn

May 3, 2019

Words and photographs: Alon Goldman

Mariusz Etryk inherited the building at Aleja Tadeusza Kościuszki 14 from his aunt Czesława Sędzielewska, who told him many stories regarding the Jewish tenants who lived in that building when the Nazis entered Częstochowa on 3rd September 1939, and who never returned. Mariusz has decided to initiate a unique project  – to commemorate those Jewish occupants of that building.

Through Małgorzata Kaim, principal of the Słowcki High School in Częstochowa, he contacted Allon Goldman and, last month, they met in Tel Aviv.

At that meeting, he presented Alon with a list of names of the tenants at the outbreak of the War, 3rd September 1939 (see below). The list only contained surnames. From looking at other lists that were in his possession, they worked out which apartment each of the residents lived in and also some of their professions.

 

From inquiries, they conducted and with the help of some good people, they have found the first names of some of those residents and additional information about them and their ultimate fate. Some survived the Holocaust. Some perished in Częstochowa and in Treblinka. However, there are also those about whom they have not been able to find any information.

From information received, the list of tenants, as at the outbreak of World War II, includes:

          • Henryk (Chaim Mojzesz) & Fajga (Franka) Feiner (He was an engineer.)
          • Dr. Adam ( Hersz Abraham ) and Dr Gitla (nee Ajdelman) Konarski
          • Ludwik Tencer (an engineer)
          • Dr. Marek Mordka (?) & Natalia (nee Rotlevi) Librowicz
          • Dr. Maksymilian Berlin
          • Dr. Adam (?) Borkowski
          • Jerzy (Abram Izrael ) and Mala (nee Brandlowicz) Orenstein
          • Tadeusz (?) Koss
          • Dora Rotmil
          • Prof. Zyskind (?) Brandlewicz
          • Solomon Markowicz (an engineer)
          • Jakub (?) & Ita Ruchla Lewit
          • Dr. Moshe (Henryk)  Halleman & Dr. Miriam (nee Feiner) Halleman

If anyone has ANY information about ANY of these former residents of Aleja Tadeusza Kościuszki 14, please contact Alon Goldman by clicking HERE.

The date of the future commemoration ceremony will be announced on this website.


Below, we supply some further information, which may help locate relatives of these people:

Henryk (Chaim Mojzesz) & Fajga (Franka) Feiner

Henryk, his wife Fajga (Franka) and their son Richard Feiner did not survive the Holocaust.

According to a 1956 Yad Vashem Testimony, written by a his friend  Moshe Praport, engineer Henrik (Moshe Chaim) Feiner, son of Israel and Chana, was born in Częstochowa in 1904. He died in Częstochowa in 1943 He was married to Feiga (nee Rosenzweig) and had a seven-year-old boy named Ryszard who died in Treblinka.

Henryk Feiner was murdered on Purim, 20th  March 1943, during an Aktion in which 127 members of the Jewish intelligentsia and their families were murdered at the Częstochowa Jewish Cemetery and were buried in a mass grave there.

According to Geni site his parents’ names are Shmuel and Leonora Leah. In another source, it is written that the name of Moshe Haim’s wife was Mirlla and they had a daughter named Fradla who was born on October 20, 1909.


Dr. Adam (Hersh Abraham) & Dr Gitla (nee Ajdelman) Konarski

Second Lieutenant Adam Hersz Abraham Konarski was born in 1892. He was an internist. Prior to WWII, he lived in Częstochowa. During the war he was in Starobelsk, Ukraine (USSR).

He was killed in military service. This information is based on a list of the names of Jewish officers and soldiers in the Polish army who were arrested at the POW camp Kozielsk in Starobelsk and executed by the NKVD in the Katyn Forest from April 3rd to May 12th 1940.

Lists of doctors in Częstochowa in 1939 include the names of Dr. Abraham Konarski and his wife (who was a dentist) Dr. Gitla Konarska as residents of the building in Kościuszki 14. According to what Czesława Sędzilewska told Mariusz, the Konarski family were well-known citizens of Czestochowa.

They had a son named Stanislaw. The year the war broke out, he could have been eight years old. The family lived in a most beautiful five-room apartment on the first floor. The family’s maid took Stanisław to the school every day. She always begged him to hurry up and he would answer with “Ty sobie idż … … You can go”. Stanislaw’s fate is unknown. Dr. Gitla Konarski probably survived the Holocaust.


Louis Tencer

According to what Czesława Sędzilewska told Mariusz, Ludwig Tencer was an engineer and the director of the Power Station in Częstochowa. He disappeared from his Częstochowa home as soon as the occupation began. In 1945, Louis Tencer appeared at the house at Aleja Tadeusza Kościuszki 14 and asked to see if anything remained of his apartment. As far as Mariusz knows, he took what books remained and disappeared again.


Dr. Marek Mordka (?) Librowicz

Only the last name “Librowicz” appears in the list. According to the historian Wiesław Paszkowski, this is apparently an eye doctor, Marek Mordechai Lebrowicz, who was born in 1897 and died in 1942.

His name was commemorated by his family in a symbolic grave that was erected in the Częstochowa Jewish Cemetery after the War by his wife Natalya (nee Rotlewi) and other family members.


Jerzy (Abram Izrael ) and Mala (nee Brandlowicz) Orenstein

Jerzy (Abraham Israel) Orenstein did not survive the Holocaust. In Yad Vashem, there were found two Pages of Testimony bearing his name. They were submitted by his brother Shimon Orski (Orenstein) and his sister Rina Paltau.

According to his sister’s witness page, submitted on 18th October 1977, her brother Israel, son of  Wolf and Bina Ornstein, was born on 18th March 1902 in Częstochowa, where he lived permanently. He was married to Mala (nee Brendelowicz). He died in Częstochowa.

According to his brother’s witness page, sumitted on 19th May 1957. his brother  Israel (Jurek) son of Wolf and Bina, who was born in Czestochowa in 1902 and was married to Mala nee Brendelowicz, died in Czestochowa in 1943. He was 41 years old.

The name of Israel is commemorated on the mass grave of the Ghetto and HASAG victims in the Częstochowa Jewish Cemetery. Mala Orenstein ran a fashion salon in this building.


Dora Rotmil

Dora Rotmil was about seventy years old and managed a delicatessen in Częstochowa at Aleja Najświętszej Maryi Panny 27.

From what was told to Mariusz, she was the mother of a famous Polish designer in the pre-War period named Jacek (Isaac) Rotmil, who perished in Warsaw in 1944.


Prof. Zyskind (?) Brandlewicz

Only the last name Brandlewicz appears in the list. According to the historian Wiesław Paszkowski, he is apparently Prof. Zyskind Brandlewicz of the Gymnasium of the Jewish High School Association in Częstochowa.


Jakub (?) & Ita Ruchla Lewit

Only Lewit name appears on the list. According to the historian Wiesław Paszkowski, it may have been Jakub Lewit who bought a Turkish visa and left Częstochowa, in 1940, for Palestine.

Another source shows that his wife’s name was Ita Ruchla.


Dr. Moshe (Henryk) & Dr. Miriam Halleman (nee Feiner)

Pages of Testimony at Yad Vashem were filled out on the basis of information collected from questionnaires filled by doctors in Poland.

Pages of Testimony Dr. Moshe Halleman: https://yvng.yadvashem.org/nameDetails.html?language=he&itemId=6999917&ind=3

Pages of Testimony Dr. Miriam Halleman nee Feiner: https://yvng.yadvashem.org/nameDetails.html?language=he&itemId=6999875&ind=2



Częstochowa Commemorates the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising

aragorn

April 17, 2019

The City of Częstochowa and the Częstochowa TSKŻ have commemorated the 76th anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising.

Words: Alon Goldman Photographs: Joanna Sidorowicz

The day began at the Częstochowa Jewish Museum with a memorial presentation by students from the Słowacki High School.

A Memorial Ceremony to the Jews of Częstochowa then took place at the Częstochowa Umschlagplatz monument where wreathes were laid and candles were lit. The event was attended by Częstochowa Deputy Mayor Dr. Ryszard Stefaniak and City Councillor Jolanta Urbańska.

Later, the high school students headed to the city’s main boulevard, the Aleja NMP, where they distributed symbolic yellow daffodils to the public.


Warsaw Ghetto Uprising Commemoration in Częstochowa

aragorn

April 5, 2019

If you happen to be in Częstochowa, the Częstochowa Museum, together with the Częstochowa TSKŻ, invite you to participate in a ceremony commemorating the 76th anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, which will take place on Wednesday, April 17th 2019 at 10:00 am in the hall of the Society for the Preservation of the Jewish Heritage of Częstochowa on the first floor of ul. Katedralna 8.

The ceremony will be followed by the laying of wreaths at the Częstochowa Jews memorial monument at ul. Strażacka, from where volunteers will disperse in order to distribute daffodils on the city’s main boulevard.

The event will be attended by members of the ADULAM Foundation and students from the Słowcki  High School, the Copernicus High School and the Jacek Malczewski School of Graphic Arts.

We will remember and never forget!

Submitted by: Alon Goldman


Vandalism Again at Częstochowa Jewish Cemetery

aragorn

March 28, 2019

Unfortunately, our Częstochowa Jewish Cemetery has again been been the target of an act of vandalism.

This time, the culprits focused on the ohel of the Pilzter Rebbe, Rabbi Izaak Majer Justman.

This act of vandalism follows shortly after another act of antisemitic graffiti on the Cemetery gate which occurred in December 2018. The perpetrators of that act have still not been apprehended.

A complaint has been submitted by us to the local police and Alon Goldman has written to the Mayor of Częstochowa.

We hope that, this time, the law enforcement agencies will find the criminals and take all the necessary measures against them for their antisemitic, vandalism of our Jewish cemetery in Częstochowa, the last remnant of the magnificent Jewish community of Czestochowa which no longer exists.

We also expect that, until the criminals are found, the city’s law enforcement agencies will increase security measures to safeguard the Cemetery against similar attacks in the future.

These criminal acts strengthen the need to fully restore the wall around the Cemetery and we very much hope that the municipality will find a way to carry out this important task.

Submitted by: Alon Goldman


Israeli and Polish Students Meet in Częstochowa

aragorn

March 24, 2019

The first of six meetings, planned for 2019, between Israeli high school students and students from Częstochowa has taken place. These meetings will involve around 1,500 students, with an equal number from Israel and Poland.

The connection between the schools was created with the help of Alon Goldman and also results in a dialogue between teachers from the participating schools.

This meeting began on the morning of March 15th 2019, when some 105 Rabin High School students from Kfar Saba arrived at the Copernicus High School where all students particpated in joint activities.

Following three hours at the school, the Rabin high school students continued their tour of the Jewish heritage sites in Częstochowa and completed their visit to the Jewish Cemetery, where they learned about what happened in Częstochowa during the Holocaust and the story behind the mass graves.

The cumination of the visit for the Israeli students was their volunteer activity to help clean the cemetery and its tombstones. A number of Polish students joined into this activity. With the help of the volunteers of the ADULAM FOUNDATION of Częstochowa, the local TSKŻ and the tools we provided, the high school students spent an hour and a half cleaning neglected gravestones.


World Society Vice-President Visits Częstochowa Jewish Cemetery

aragorn

January 13, 2019

World Society Vice-President and Chairman of the Association of Częstochowa Jews in Israel, Alon Goldman, visited Częstochowa for the purpose of promoting a process which would be able to resolve the issue of the ownership of our Jewish Cemetery so that restoration works can begin.

The Cemetery is in a neglected condition. The surrounding wall is almost completely destroyed, many trees have collapsed and wild vegetation covers many graves.

Alon Goldman writes:

Unfortunately, due to the absence of an active Jewish community, such as in Warsaw, Kraków, Wrocław, etc., this issue has not been dealt with since the end of World War II. Apparently, to everyone, it was too uncomfortable and, as a result, no one took responsibility for the Cemetery – neither the municipality within whose jurisdiction the Cemetery lies and whose citizens are buried there, nor the Jewish Community Council of Katowice, which is now geographically responsible for Częstochowa. Surprisingly, the “Jewish Community Council of Częstochowa” (“Gmina”) is still listed today as the Cemetery’s owner, even though that organisation has not existed for many years.

This issue is of great importance and urgency given, for example, the antisemitic graffiti on the Cemetery gate last month, the massive construction being carried out around the Cemetery and the factories lying close to its fence.

During my previous visit to the city in September 2018, during the Huberman Violin Festival, I agreed with the Mayor that, on my next visit, there would be a comprehensive discussion on the subject, with the participation of Władek Kac, Director of the Katowice Jewish Community Council, whose jurisdiction covers Częstochowa and its Jewish community. Our friend, attorney Krzystof Straus, who helped us a lot in this matter, would also attend the meeting.

Unfortunately, despite a willingness to make concessions to the Częstochowa municipality regarding demands for compensation for the pre-War assets of the Częstochowa Jewish community, provided that the funds be used to restore the Cemetery, the municipality refused to accept responsibility for the Cemetery.

On two issues, it can be said that there has been some or partial:

  • The municipality will file a request to the District to receive a budget for the restoration of what are known as “War Graves” – these refer to the Mass Graves in the Jewish Cemetery.
  • The municipality will apply to the District for approval, without actually taking responsibility for the Cemetery, to manage/approve the restoration of the Cemetery’ wall due to the existing risks it poses to the integrity of the War Graves and to the integrity of the Cemetery itself.

On a snowy morning, I went to the Cemetery with Aleksandra Janikowska-Perczak, Director of the Department of Preservation of Sites in Częstochowa. Among other things, this departments is responsible for the preservation of the site of the Cemetery. Ms. Janikowska-Perczak was noted the poor condition of the Cemetery and we exchanged ideas about ways to restore the wall and about what was needed to restore the Cemetery itself. I must point out that, following the visit, Ms Aleksandra Janikowska-Perczak expressed her willingness and goodwill to help advance the issue with her own areas of responsibility.

I very much hope that, after this visit, we will find a solution and be able to move forward with restoring the cemetery – one of the last vestiges of the rich Jewish history of Częstochowa and of a Jewish community that no longer exists.

During this visit, I gave a particularly moving lecture to Henryk Sienkiewicz High School students in Częstochowa, where I told them about the history of my family in the Holocaust and what happened to the Jews of Częstochowa at that time. It was particularly moving since my father, Jerucham, Jerzy Goldman z”l, was a graduate of this high school in the 1935 class.


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