Vale Ryszard Welgryn z”l (1948-2020)

November 10, 2020
Source: Alon Goldman & Błażej Tatarek

It was with great sadness that the World Society learned of the passing of Ryszard Welgryn, Deputy Chairman of the Częstochowa branch of the TSKŻ –Towarzystwo Społeczno-Kulturalne Żydów w Polsce (Social-Cultural Association of Jews in Poland). Ryszard passed away on Saturday 7th November 2020, aged seventy-two.

“Ryszard was a true friend”, said World Society Vice-President Alon Goldman. “Since becoming Deputy Chairman of the Częstochowa branch of the TSKŻ a few years ago, Ryszard has quietly, modestly and effectively been of great assistance assisted in all activities relating to the preservation of the Częstochowa’s Jewish heritage”.

Ryszard owned a factory in which he minted commemorative medals. The relief of the New Synagogue, at the entrance to the Częstochowa Philharmonic hall, was created by him, as were medallions, created for our World Society Reunions, which were given to all Reunion participants (see below).

Ryszard Welgryn was born and raised in Częstochowa as a Christian. It was only twenty years ago that he discovered that his father was a Jew who had been liberated from Buchenwald and who had hidden his Jewish identity since then.

Ryszard’s daughter, Paulina, wrote the following about her father:

For some of you, he was a person known within the Jewish community. Dad felt the need to belong to it since, around 2000, our family discovered a deeply, hidden secret. We learned that my grandfather, Feliks Welgryn, was born “Efroim Boruch Welgryn”. Like most Jews, he was hard hit by the cruelty of War and the loss of his entire, immediate family. After being liberated from the forced-labor camp in Buchenwald, he returned to Częstochowa after the War, where he started a family under his changed name and hid his Jewish identity.

Dad was a teacher and his youth was linked with scouting and the PTTK (Polish Tourist and Sightseeing Society). Later years, together with his wife Marzena, he devoted himself to building a family medal-making company.

Częstochowa was an important city for him, a community which he supported through, for example, local charitable foundations, for which he always had an open heart. He supported the Częstochowa branch of WOSP (Great Orchestra of Christmas Charity) and the Catholic Adullam Foundation.

Desiring to get to know the community focused on Jewish culture, he actively participated in its life, taking the position of Vice-Chairman of the Częstochowa branch of the TSKŻ. He was involved in commemorating places related to the life and martyrdom of the Jewish population in Częstochowa.

Paulina Welgryn with, her mother in sorrow, Marzena Swatek-Welgryn.

During the World Society’s 5th Reunion in 2016, Ryszard met Zvi Welgryn – their grandfathers were brothers. Together, they recited Kaddish at the graves in the Częstochowa Jewish Cemetery.

The World Society extends its deepest sympathies to Ryszard Welgryn’s family and, in accordance with Jewish tradition, we wish them long life.