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Częstochowa Marks 76th Anniversary of Ghetto Liquidation
22nd September 2018
(Story: Alon Goldman, Photos: Asia Sidorowicz, Krzystof Straus, Marcin Szpadrowski)
In a ceremony held at the Umschlagplatz monument, Częstochowa remembered
its Jewish citizens, victims of the Holocaust, by commemorating the 76th anniversary
of the liquidation of the Częstochowa ghetto. The monument site is from where,
between 22nd September and 7th October 1942, six train transports departed for Treblinka,
carrying around 40,000 Jews to their deaths.
Częstochowa Deputy Mayor, Dr. Ryszard Stefaniak, opened the ceremony, which was attended
by around one hundred of the city's, as well as guests from the United States and Israel.
World Society President, Sigmund Rolat, welcomed all to what is an important commemoration,
World Society Vice-President, Alon Goldman, in his address, listed the numerous achievements
accomplished in preserving the city's Jewish heritage, undertaken in recent years in cooperation
with the municipal authorities. These included the erection of the monument in front of which he
was standing and the establishment of the Jewish Museum of Częstochowa. He acknowledged
Sigmund Rolat's great contribution to these project.
Alon stressed that the preservation of the Jewish cemetery, which is largely still being neglected,
is a project that must be completed in partnership with other individuals and organizations.
Alongside the city's Honour Guard, students from the Malczewski and Słowacki High Schools contributed
to the ceremony with poetry reading and a song. A very emotional moment came when Ofri Ben Shitrit, granddaughter
of survivor Giza Segal, came from Israel to attend the ceremony and performed the Hebrew song Shir HaMa'alot,
while her grandmother Giza watched it live on video in Ramat Gan.
Kaddish was recited by Alon Goldman in memory of the 40,000 victims. Several wreathes were then laid
by representatives of the city and by private individuals. Othen then paid their own private tribute at the monument.
On the following day, visiting dignitaries, guests from abroad and locals visited the
to view the "Jews in the Polish Army" Exhibition". (See previous
news item for more details.)
"Jews in the Polish Army" Exhibition at the Częstochowa TSKŻ
15th September 2018
The Częstochowa TSKŻ (Social-Cultural Association of Jews)
was the venue for the opening of the "Jews in the Polish Army" exhibition,
in the presence of Częstochowa Deputy Mayor Ryszard Stefaniak and
Częstochowa Museum Director Tadeusz Piersiak.
The exhibition was created through the efforts of the HADAR Committee,
together with the Polish Military Centre for Civic Education, the Polish
Army Museum, the Katyń Museum, the Jewish Historical Institute and
the TSKŻ in Poland. It has already been displayed in other Polish cities
The exhibition consists of eighteen panels telling the stories of Jewish
soldiers in the Polish Army who fought in Polish uprisings and battles during
the 19th and 20th centuries. As well as presenting the Jewish resistance movements
and the story of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, it tells how Jews fought for Poland's
freedom and independence.
The exhibition was brought to Częstochowa thanks to the efforts of
Częstochowa TSKŻ Chair, Izabela Sobańska-Klekowska and Deputy-Chair
World Society Vice-President Alon Goldman Co-ordinates Major Cemetery Clean-Up
(Source: Alon Goldman)
After many years of neglect, a major step has been taken to clean-ep Częstochowa's Jewish Cemetery.
It was a complex task, laden with serious concerns but, in the end, it was made possible thanks to the
determination, perseverance, a great deal of goodwill and the great help of the good people who volunteered
for the task.
Due to the size of the cemetery (the third largest Jewish cemetery in Poland), it became clear that it
would not be possible to deal with the entire area at one time, so that two plots were chosen to begin the work
- one, to the left of the main path, on either side of the mass graves, the other, at the top and on the right
sidee of the cemetery, past the mass grave of the ŻOB fighters. As with the rest of the cemetery, these
two areas were overtaken by dense ground vegetation and a large number of trees which, over the years, had fallen
due to the weather.
Cutting the trees would not have been possible without the help of skilled professionals. With great effort, dozens
of fallen tree trunks were cut into pieces small enough to be moved, by volunteers, to the main path from where
they could be removed from the cemetery. The logs and vegetation cleared off graves were shredded into wood chips,
which we then scattered on the ground throughout the cleared area in order to delay the re-growth of wild vegetation.
This work could not have happened without the good people who enlisted for this mission. World Society Vice-President,
Alon Goldman, expressed his thanks Pastor Steven D. Reece, Director of the American Matzevah Foundation, and to Prszemek
Panasiuk, Director of its activities in Poland. He also thanks the excellent professionals who joined this mission, who
arrived well-equipped and who were knowledgeable and skillful.
Volunteers from the Fundacja Chrześcijańska Adullam (pics above) also joined in the work. This is an association of
hardworking people living in, what was, the Jewish Ghetto area of Częstochowa, Under the leadership of Robert
Kamela, they dragged and removed heavy trunks, cleared branches, trimmed vegetation, operated scythes, and did whatever
was asked of them. We thank them so much and also thank Mrs. Elżbieta Ferenc, Director of the Fundacja,
for your friendship and cooperation.
Over 200 volunteers - Częstochowa residents, graduates and students of elementary and high schools - came to work
in the cemetery. Special thanks go to the dozens of Częstochowa students from the Słowackie, Biegański,
Kopernicus, Gastronomic and Technicom high schools, as well as to students of the Kamieńskie Młynyl elementary
school, all of whom arrived each morning, motivated to learn and to help. Alon Goldman praised them all for their
involvement and goodwill.
The World Society Vice-President also thanked Częstochowa Mayor, Krzysztof Matyjaszczyk, and the few, but generous,
Landsleit in Israel and all over the world, without whose support and generous contributions it would not be
possible to bring this week of work to completion.
Click HERE to see how local channel TV ORION covered the clean-up!
Israeli Częstochowa Landsleit Memorial Evening
10th December 2017
(Source: Alon Goldman)
Around 100 First and Second Generation landsleit attended the
2017 Annual Commemoration of Częstochowa Jews conducted by the
Israeli Częstochowa Jews Association. The event was held at
Wolyn House, Yad Vashem's International School for Holocaust Studies
This year's commemoration marked the 75th anniversary of the liquidation
of the "Big Ghetto" in Częstochowa, when some 40,000 Jews were packed
into six cattle trains to be transported to their deaths. The trains left
Częstochowa for Treblinka between 22nd September and 7th October 1942.
The MC for the event was Modi Givon.
Kaddish was recited by First Generation Eliezer Kirshenbaum
(Lolek), while El Male Rachamim and Tehilim were
recited by Second Generation Cantor Yossi Greenfeld.
Association Chairman and World Society Vice-President, Alon Goldman (pic left),
told the audience of the past year's activities aimed at preserving
Częstochowa Jewish heritage.
The Memorial evening concluded with a screening of the film "Luck and Good People" which recounts
the wartime journey of Holocaust survivor Irena Talmon (née Bogayer). This impossible journey began
in Częstochowa, Irena's birthplace, moved to Lwów, returned to the Częstochowa Ghetto
and then, from there, to Warsaw. The film also depicts the work of three brave Polish women who risked
their lives in order to save the Bogajer family and who were honoured by Yad Vashem with the title of
"Righteous Among the Nations"
Our World Society Wins Cultural Patron Award
26th August 2017
(Story courtesy Janusz Jadczyk, pics courtesy Leszek Pilichowski)
Each year, on the 26th August city holiday, the opportunity is taken to recognise those whose activities
have made a significant impact in enriching the cultural potential of Częstochowa, and who have
contributed to the city's positive image.
In 2017 the "Patron of Culture" award has been conferred upon us
- the World Society of Częstochowa Jews and Their Descendants.
The award was presented to our President, Sigmund Rolat, by Częstochowa Mayor Krzysztof Matyjaszczyk and
City Council Chairman Zdzisław Wolski. Our World Society was nominated for the award by the Częstochowa
Municipal Museum, with the support of the Bronisław Huberman Częstochowa Philharmonic.
In accepting the award, Sigmund Rolat was acknowledged as a friend and Honorary Citizen of Częstochowa who, through
the World Society, had supported, organisationally and financially, cultural events in the city, thereby raising the
artistic value of these projects and events.
As well as the World Society, six other organisations and companies had been nominated for the 2017 award.
Częstochowa Remembers Our Dear Halina Wasilewicz z"l
25th May 2017
(Pics courtesy Piotr Kowalik)
The new Jewish Museum of Częstochowa was the venue for an event dedicated to remembering and
celebrating the life of long-time Chairperson of the Częstochowa branch of
the TSKŻ, Halina Wasilewicz z"l.
Under the patronage of Częstochowa Mayor Krzysztof Matyjaszczyk and Chairman of
TSKŻ Poland Artur Hofman, the event entitled "Chaya Ita Yiddishe Mama" was MC'ed by
Halina's long-time friend Tadeusz Piersiak, Director of the "Gaude Mater" cultural centre.
The program included a screening of a film about Halina, the unveiling of a portrait of
Halina painted by Alicja Desperak of the Jacek Malczewski Graphic Arts High School, a recital
by the group "Give Me Sound" and time for several people to reminisce about their memories of
our wonderful Halina. Following the formal part of the programme, attendees were able to visit
the exhibition surrounding them, "The Jews of Częstochowa".
The event, attended by Halina's son, Kuba Wasilewicz, was organised by Krzysztof Jonasz Fydryszek
and his Częstochowa TSKŻ committee, with the support of the AJDC (Joint), Grzegorz Meisel
Sweets Manufacturer, Gazeta Wyborcza and the Polish Ministry of Internal Affairs.
Academic Conference on the Jewish History of the Częstochowa Region
28th March 2017
(Pics courtesy Alon Goldman. Video courtesy Telewizja Orion.)
The Jewish Museum of Częstochowa was the venue for an academic conference on the history of the Jewish
community in the Częstochowa region. It was co-organised by the Jan Długosz Academy, the Częstochowa
Municipal Museum, the city's Municipal Archives and the Częstochowa branch of the Social-Cultural Association of
Jews in Poland (TSKŻ).
The delivery of papers was preceded with a viewing of the Jewish Museum's exhibition, following by one minute's silence
in memory of Halina Wasilewicz z"l, the long-time Chairperson of the TSKŻ.
Papers delivered at the conference will appear HERE,
in both Polish and English, as they are received and then translated.
Click HERE to see how local
television station TV Orion covered the event.