"From the Warta River to the East River" (1957)

- by Rafał Federman

Born, raised and having spent most of his life in Częstochowa, Rafał Federman was a Yiddish writer and journalist. He served as Vice-Chairman of the American section of the World Federation of Polish Jews and was President of the United Czenstochower Relief Committee. He lived in both Poland and the U.S.A. He was a prolific contributor to several Częstochowa Yizkor Books.

According to S. D. Singer:

Rafał Federman’s memoirs printed in the book ‘Czenstochover Yidn’, were very interesting to read. It was evident, from those autobiographical pages, that Federman had much more to relate.

“Federman, therefore, had a good idea when he decided to elaborate on his memoirs. In fact, he rewrote and changed [them] such that a completely new and unique book emerged. This is a culturalhistorical chronicle of the life of a man, written in the form of a long story, with a protagonist Josef Szalit and with descriptions of dozens of other Jewish personalities.”

In fact, in the preface to this book, Federman, himself, writes:

It is with an uneasy feeling that I bring this book, ‘From the Warta River to the East River’, before the reader. My sole intention was to record a chronicle of the times and the environs in which I lived for over sixty years. I thought that, at least, some of my experiences and those of my friends should be recorded somewhere.

“However, not all that I recount here has to do solely with suffering. It was also a life filled with joy, as well as hardships and stumbles.”

While the book’s protagonist and characters are fictitious, the reader should be aware that their experiences and the events described are based in truth.

This Yizkor book, in its entirety, is being professionally translated into English
for the FIRST time.

The professional English translation of this Yizkor book has been made possible by the financial support of the

Wolf Rajcher z”l and Dora Rajcher z”l were both Holocaust survivors from Częstochowa.

They were prisoners in both the “Big Ghetto” and the “Small Ghetto” and, until liberation, were slave labourers in HASAG-Pelcery. Following the War, they emigrated to Melbourne Australia.

Upon the passing of both his parents, their son, Andrew Rajcher, established this charitable fund in their memory.

Chapters/articles are listed in the order in which they appear in the Yizkor Book.
(The numbers in brackets, after each article, correspond to the appropriate page numbers in the Yizkor Book.)


Title & Prologue Pages (1-18)

Chapter 1 – Josef Szalit and His Family (19-22)

Chapter 2 – Winning the Lottery (23-26)

Chapter 3 – A Pogrom, Soda Water and Revolutionary Literature (27-35)

Chapter 4 – Avoiding Arrest and Jail (36-39)

Chapter 5 – Strikes and Imprisonment (40-42)

Chapter 5 – Strikes and Imprisonment (40-42)

Chapter 6 – the Zionist-Socialist Workers’ Party, Kraków and Losing a “Second Home” (43-46)

Chapter 7 – Getting Engaged, Prison, Military Service and Uncle Duwid (47-55)

Chapter 8 – World War I and Returning to Communal Activity (56-64)

Chapter 9 – Illness and Two Girlfriends (65-71)

Chapter 10 – Political Upheaval, the Bund and Maybe Paris (72-75)


Dave Horowitz-Larochette


While the English translation is available for download, it may not, either in part or as a whole, be distributed or published without the prior written permission of Andrew Rajcher, the copyright-holder of this English-language version of the Yiddish Section of this Yizkor Book.