A Memorial from Melbourne, Australia

In Memory of the Jewish Martyrs of Częstochowa

My name is Leon Rayman and, as President of the Częstochowa Committee in Melbourne, I would like to relate to the Jewish students of the Sholem Aleichem School, what happened to Częstochowa Jewry

I would like, today, to fulfill the last request of our martyrs, who went on their last journey to the gas chanbers and who demanded of those of us who survived the Holocaust, to tell our children, grandchildren, and the whole world, what the Nazi German murderers did to the Jewish people, and also to the Jews of our city, Częstochowa. We should never forgive or forget the murderous Nazi German nation!

Today, we will be talking about a city that existed in Poland, in which a third of the general population were Jews. The name of the city was Częstochowa. It is the history of the destruction of Częstochowa Jews, who shared the fate of all Polish Jewry.

However, the history of the destruction of Częstochowa Jews is not just a tale of blood and tears, because they had written an important chapter in the history of Polish Jewry. Through their heroic battle against the Nazis, they immortalised themselves in the history of the Jewish people.

This was our home. There, we and our forefathers built institutions that bound Jews together. Jewish energy, Jewish spirit and creativity existed in all corners of the city.

It was a concentrated centre of Jewish organisations. There were two Jewish high schools who, each, produced students entering universities; a technical school for tradesmen – locksmiths, carpenters and electricians; a school for gardeners, a Jewish hospital, an old-age home and a hostel for needy travellers. There were also Jewish newspapers, and Jewish primary and secondary schools in which the children received their modern Jewish education. There were synagogues, cheders, Jewish lecture halls and yeshivas in which Jewish children recived their religious education.

The Jewish population of Częstochowa was about 35,000 and the surrounding districs contained an additional 15,000 Jews. Thus, there were 50,000 altogether. This no longer exists. Not the people, nor their creations. Isolated from the external world, from everything and from everyone, tragedy befell them. They were torn away from us with the most shocking force in the most dreadfulo manner – and sent to their destruction.

At midnight, at the conclusion of Yom Kippur, the ghetto came under tight guard though cordons of black-uniformed thugs of the murderous German extermination squads. This was the first sign of the great tragedy which was to come. This was a night in which all the Jewish mothers cried until there were no more tears. Every minute was an tragic eternity – minutes of tension, minutes of deep sorrw and of horrible uncertainty. This happened on Tuesday, 22nd September 1942 – one day after Yom Kippur.

This was the first mass slaughter of 7,000 Częstochowa Jews who were, on that day, deported to Treblinka where they were destroyed by gas and flames. From September 22nd to October 4th 1942, five such selections and deportations took place, which decimated the Jewish community of Częstochowa and the surrounding area. The entire Jewish population of Częstochowa was disrupted and destroyed. It is impossible to describe the tragic, petrifying terror and anguished cries of the Jewish mothers and orphaned families.

It is the duty of Holocaust survivors, and living witnesses of the sea of blood and tears, to remind us, each year, of the destruction of our city of Częstochowa and the entire Jewish population. We should never forgive and never forget! By describing the Holocaust, we are able to visualise the atrocities that brought about the destruction, by the Nazi murderers, of the Jews of Częstochowa and of one-third of the entire Jewish people.

Our blood boils and our clenched fists rise up against the murderers of the Jewish people. It is most painful, and our suffereing makes us scream in agaony. Our hearts and souls are bleeding and, as living witnesses of the Holocaust, we dare not allow the world to forget what the Nazi murderers did to the Jewish people. Immersed in deep sorrow and with bowed heads, let us say Yizkor for the holy martyrs of Częstochowa.

Yizkor for the holy mothers and fathers.
Yizkor for our brothers and sisters.
Yizkor for our wives and children.
Yizkor for the ghetto heroes and partisan fighters of the heroic resistance movement
who, through their resistance and battles, raised the national dignity of the Jewish
people, and who helped carry the banner of eternal Jewish existence, the banner of
“Am Yisroel Chai”.

In the general destruction of European Jewry, Częstochowa Jewry contributed 50,000 offerings on the altar of Jewish martyrdom. We, in Melbourne, the last surviving witnesses to the destruction of Częstochowa and surrounding areas, consider it our sacred duty to immortalise the destroyed Jewish community of Częstochowa and also our mothers and fathers, brothers, sisters and children who perished as martyrs at the hands of the Mazi German murderers during 1939-1945.

This will serve as a symbolic tombstone of their unknown graves, as we do not know where or when they perished.

May their memory be honoured!


The text on this page
was provided by
of Melbourne, Australia.

It was discovered by
by family members while
sorting through the effects
of a deceased relative.

Originally in Yiddish,
it has been translated
into English by
who lives in the U.S.A.

The text is of an address
by the then President of the
Częstochowa Landsmannschaft
in Melbourne, Australia,

It was delivered on
18th September 1983
to students of the
Sholem Aleichem School
a Jewish-Yiddish day school
in Melbourne, Australia.

The Webmaster sincerely
thanks all those concerned
in the process which has
enabled this text to be
published on this website.