A Visit Which Encouraged Me to Do More

by SHOSH KOREN (Second Generation Częstochower and Tour Guide to Poland, Israel)

My Father, Yitzchak Wishlitzky z”l, was born in 1909 in Częstochowa and lived at ul. Warszawska 37. My mother, Chaya (nee Frank) z”l, was born in 1919 and lived in Częstochowa at ul. Garncarska 22. Both survived the War. On the ship “Exodus”, they emigrated to Israel, where had two daughters.

For the past twenty years, I have been leading delegations of youth and adults to Poland, where I have told them my family’s story. I consider this to be very important. By doing this, I am fulfilling the will of my late parents, who always told me to always remember and to never forget.

I think that it is incumbent on all of us to research and document our histories – not just for ourselves, but also for future generations. In doing so, we continue to warn the world that we have not yet learned the lessons of the Holocaust.

In February 2018, I was given the golden opportunity of going to a special educational seminar in Częstochowa thanks to three dear people – Sigmund Rolat, Alan Silberstein and Alon Goldman. The purpose of the seminar was to familiarise ourselves with the history of the Częstochowa Jewish community – from its beginnings to its destruction. It was also intended to raise an awareness of the ongoing encounters between Jewish and Polish youth, which is the result of cooperation between the schools in both Częstochowa and Israel.

This trip gave me the chance for my first visit to the new Częstochowa Jewish Museum at ul. Katedralna 8, which documents the story of the Częstochowa Jewish community. There, we were exposed to stories, some of which I didn’t know at all, further adding to my knowledge.

Also for the first time, I entered the gates of the HASAG forced labor camp, where my parents worked during the War. I saw and felt the place where they suffered hard work, but also the place from which they emerged alive, even though my mother’s two sisters perished there.

During the visit to the cemetery (pic right,) we found the broken tombstone of my grandfather’s grave, Shlomo David Wishlitzky, who passed away in 1933. Finding it was the result of the excellent work done by the Gidonim group, the Reut students from Jerusalem, led by their teacher Dina Wiener, as well as by Mr. Paszkowski. We held an emotional ceremony next to the grave, with a reading of El Maleh Rachamim and Kaddish. To think that my father was the last survivor of three brothers and one sister. After 75 years, his granddaughter finally visits his grave – who would have believed it???

We then visited my mother’s family home ul. Garncarska 22. There I spoke about the family hiding in the basement of the house and how they were taken from there during the Aktion which took place on Yom Kippur – 22nd September 1942 – when my aunt Leah, my mother’s sister, and others were sent to their deaths in Treblinka.

At the end of the seminar, we met the directors and staff of the Museum Archive, where documentation regarding the Jewish inhabitants of Częstochowa can be found. Here, I had quite an emotional surprise – the privilege of seeing the birth certificate of my grandfather, Hanoch Frank, the marriage certificate of my grandparents, the death certificate of grandfather Shlomo Wishlitzky and much more. I showed the archive staff pictures of family members, the people behind these documents.

At HASAG with Alon Goldman
At the Częstochowa Archives

After the seminar ended, I returned to my home with a clear feeling that I had to go on researching. I needed to restore my grandfather’s gravestone in the cemetery and, with my extended family, I need to share everything which I’d experienced during the seminar.

My parents were allowed to emigrate to Eretz Israel, where they raised a new family and fulfilled their dream – to witness the existence and independence of the State of Israel. This is my family’s sweet revenge over the Nazi enemy, which had tried to exterminate them, but failed. My parents had two daughters – my older sister Michal and me. Michal has five children and thirteen grandchildren. I have three children and seven grandchildren. The more, the better!

I wish to thank all those who helped me, especially to all the Polish staff who accompanied us on the tours, took care of us and who treated us with great respect. Thanks to the instructors who supported, encouraged us and listened to us. Special thanks to Alon Goldman for the opportunity afforded me to join an interesting and instructive seminar that enriched me with great knowledge about the Jewish community which had lived in Częstochowa for centuries. The Seminar achieved its goal!


 Read Shosh's story in Hebrew



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