Częstochowa Roundabout Named in Honour of Leon Silberstein

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April 26, 2023


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.

Webmaster Visits Częstochowa Jewish Cemetery

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January 26, 2023

Words and photographs: Andrew Rajcher

On the morning of Thursday 26th January 2023, together with Prof. Jerzy Mizgalski, our Webmaster, Andrew Rajcher, visited the Częstochowa Jewish Cemetery.

As can be seen from the photographs below, it has been a long time since so much of our cemetery has been so accessible.

“I have been regularly visiting this cemetery since 1997 and I can’t remember when it has been in such a great condition”, said Andrew.

Of course, so much of the credit must go to our World Society Vice-President, Alon Goldman, who each year, together with many, many volunteers, works hard to bring our cemetery into the condition shown in the photographs. We owe all these people an immense debt of gratitude.

Częstochowa Annual Memorial Meeting in Israel

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November 10, 2022

Words and photographs: Alon Goldman

Around seventy first, second and third generations attended the Annual Memorial Meeting of the Association of Częstochowa Jews in Israel, held on 10th November 2022 in Tel Aviv. The emotional meeting marked the 80th anniversary of the Częstochowa ghetto.

The Kaddish memorial prayer was recited by Stephen Glazer, a third generation descendant of the Potasiewicz Częstochowa family, many of whom perished in the Holocaust. This was followed by an interesting lecture by committee member and Poland tour guide, Modi Givon.  His topic was “Treblinka and Auschwitz and What is In-Between”.

Association Chairman Alon Goldman then presented an overview  of the organisation’s activities, over the past year,
aimed at preserving the Jewish heritage of Częstochowa.

Holocaust survivor, Gabi Horowitz, who was six-years-old at the outbreak of the war, spoke about his Yom Kippur on 21st September 21 1942, of what happened to him and his family. Those present were  treated to the singing of Ofri Ben-Shitrit, of the third generation and the granddaughter of the Holocaust survivor Giza Segal (nee Kleiman). The evening was moderated by Modi Givon.

Finally, the Israeli premiere of Krzysztof Kasprzak’s 2019 film “Czestochowa in the Second World War, in the Years 1939-1945” was screened.

At the end of the event, elections were conducted for members of the committee of the Association of Częstochowa Jews in Israel. The results were:

Chairman: Alon Goldman
Treasurer: Tamar Hanoch
Committee: Pnina Paritsky, Galit Perlmutter, Chen Fischhoff
Audit Committee: Michael Chen, Stephen Glaser

80th Anniversary of Deportation of Częstochowa Jews

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September 22, 2022

Words: Alon Goldman Photos: Agencja

On 22nd September 1942, the Germans began deporting the Jewish residents of the Częstochowa ghetto to the Treblinka extermination camp. In six transports of freight trains, over a two week period ending on 8th October, about 40,000 Jews from Częstochowa and the surrounding area were deported to their deaths.

During the ghetto clearance, about 2,000 ghetto Jews were shot and buried in mass graves on ul. Kavia. Only about 5,000 people survived the “selections” and remained as forced labourers at the HASAG munitions factory.

Marking the 80th anniversary of the beginning of the deportations an emotional ceremony was held on the square of the Częstochowa Jews memorial monument.

Dozens of local high school students, with their banners and flags, the Straż Miejska, dignitaries and guests participated in the ceremony. Attendees also included the son, daughter and six grandchildren of Częstochowa-born author and poet Irit Amiel (Irena Librowicz) z”l, who came from Israel.

The ceremony led by Ms Izabela Sobańska-Klekowska, Chair of the Częstochowa branch of the TSKŻ. Speakers included Deputy Mayor of Częstochowa, Dr. Ryszard Stefaniak, Deputy Chair of Częstochowa City Council, Ms. Jolanta Urbanska, Chairman of the Association of Częstochowa Jews in Israel, Alon Goldman (who also recited the memorial prayer Kaddish) and Oni Amiel, son of Irit Amiel z”l.

Students from the Częstochowa’s Juliusz Słowacki Liceum and Biała Orła Elementary School sang and performed memorial pieces.