Prison Memoirs (1915)

by Mosze Cieszyński

This Yizkor Book was published in New York in 1915, immediately after the events, written about, took place. It is an account of the author’s arrest, imprisonment in the Częstochowa prison and eventual release.

While this booklet is not, in the traditional sense, a “Yizkor Book”, and although it lacks historical information such as names etc., it opens up a fascinating window into an epoch, which has seldom been portrayed in other Yizkor Books. It, therefore, warrants its inclusion in our Project.

According to his entry in “Częstochowa Jews – A Biographical Dictionary”(Częstochowa, 2019): Mosze Cieszyński was a

“… journalist, bookseller and publisher. He was born on 8th October 1889 in Częstochowa, the son of Jakub, a fish trader, and Estera Fajgla née Gnendelman.

From 1912, he was the most important contributor to the Jewish press in Częstochowa, starting with the Czenstochower Reklamenblat’, ‘Wochnblat’ and ‘Tageblat’.

In 1914, together with other committee members of the Bakery Workers’ Union, he was arrested [by the Russian military police] for appearing at a union meeting and spent a couple of months in prison.

“[After his release], in 1914, shortly before the outbreak of the War, Cieszyński left for the United States … In 1915, in New York, his “Turme derinerungen” (“Prison Memoirs”) was published.

In 1922, he settled in Chicago where he opened a bookshop, which became a centre for Jewish readers, writers and intelligentsia from all directions. Cieszyński also published articles on political, social and literary topics for quite a number of newspapers and magazines in Chicago, New York, Philadelphia, Toronto, Buenos Aires and in other places.”

This Yizkor book, in its entirety, has been professionally translated into English.

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.

Although this work was originally published as one unbroken story,
we have divided it into three chapters for the reader’s convenience.

(The numbers in brackets, after each chapter, correspond to the appropriate page numbers in the Yizkor Book.)

The Arrest (1-16)

Prison (17-33)

Deliverance (34-41)


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 this Yizkor Book.