Maksymilian Eljowicz (1890-1942) – painter, born in Raciąż as the son of the craftsman Chaim Pinkas. At the beginning of the 20th century, his family moved to Płock. Here Maximilian started studying, then working in a watchmaker’s workshop. Since an early age he showed outstanding […]
Tag: Jewish history
Jakub Zysman (1861-1926) – a doctor and social worker, called “doctor Judym from Klimontów” (a reference to the character from the novel “Homeless People” by Stefan Żeromski), was born in Zakroczym as the son of Hersz Ber Zysman and Łaja nee Przysucher. In the 1870s, his family moved to Płock. Jakub had nine siblings: brothers Chaim (born in 1862), Majer (born in 1865), Szmul (born in 1866), Lewin (born in 1873) and Abram (born in 1877) and sisters Idel (born in 1868), Etta (born in 1873), Maria (born in 1875) and Rozalia (born in 1877). He lost his mother early and his father remarried to Chawa Przysucher. The Zysman family lived at Królewiecka Street in the property of Władysław and Zofia Lubowidzki. Ambitious and talented Jakub attended the governorate gymnasium in Płock. In 1887 he graduated from the Faculty of Medicine at the Imperial University of Warsaw. Two years later he changed his religion to Evangelical-Augsburg. He practiced in Wisznice, then in Warsaw, from 1891 in Klimontów. In 1894 he married Eufemia Maria née Modzelewski, with whom he had three children: Jerzy, Irena and Wiktor (also known as Bruno Jasieński). By the people of Klimontów, Jakub Zysman was not only remembered as a generous doctor (he treated poor residents of the town and the surrounding area for free), but also a great social activist: initiator of the creation of the Klimontów Loan and Savings Society, activist of the Orphan Shelter Society and co-organizer of the Polish Educational Society. Thanks to Jakub Zysman, a fire station was built in Klimontów, paving of streets and squares began, a telegraph connection between Klimontów and Opatów was carried out. During World War I, Jakub Zysman and his family stayed in Moscow, where he served as a military doctor. After the war, he returned to Klimontów, where he lived and worked until his death in 1926. A great citizen of Klimontów, the religion of whom was to take care of every person who needed help, was accompanied in his final journey by nearly 10,000 people.
Jaworski K., Dandys. Słowo o Brunonie Jasieńskim, Warszawa 2009
Zarębski M., Jakub Zysman – lekarz społecznik, animator licznych inicjatyw obywatelskich w Klimontowie,
[accessed on: 14.05.2020]
The 77th anniversary of the outbreak of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. Boruch Szpigel and Izaak Bernsztejn.
April 19, 2020 marks the 77th anniversary of the outbreak of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. In connection with the anniversary, we present two people from the Płock region, whose activities were related to the Warsaw ghetto.
Bronek (Boruch) Szpigel from Wyszogród (1919–2013, pictured on the right) was one of the resistance activists in the Warsaw Ghetto and a participant in the uprising that broke out on April 19, 1943. Before the war, he belonged to the left-wing Bund organization and was a friend of Marek Edelman. From October 1942 he was a member of the Jewish Combat Organization. In the uprising he fought in the area of Smocza, Nowolipki and Leszno. On Nowolipie he detonated one of the two mines possessed by the fighters.
On April 29 he left the ghetto, from May to October 1943 he fought in a partisan unit in the Wyszkowski Forest. During the Warsaw Uprising he stayed at 64 Żelazna Street. After the war, he lived in Canada.
Izaak Bernsztejn (1900-1943, pictured on the left) is also associated with the history of the Warsaw ghetto. He was a lawyer, teacher and publicist from Płock. During the German occupation he stayed in the ghetto. He was a collaborator of Emanuel Ringelblum and wrote to the chronicle of the Warsaw Ghetto. Two essays by him were found in the Ringelblum Archive: “Warsaw – 1941” and the “Kelsm Preacher”. Bernsztejn and his family died in the ghetto in unknown circumstances.
In his essay “Hunger in Warsaw”, he wrote:
“… I saw today a black wagon; its open door let me see a box with a corpse. A woman bereft of strength hurried after it, her cry only to herself. A street filled with people who looked at her and heard her cries, astonished yet silent. She ran, she dragged herself after the coffin, like a bird that is wounded and every one around her looked and stared. My friend told me today that of a family of eight in his neighborhood only two remained, a mother and her son. He did not know whom of the two hunger will cut down first. And they walk about, mother and son, yellowish, dried out bodies, lit up with phosphorous shine…”
Grupińska A., Odczytanie Listy. Opowieść o powstańcach żydowskich, Kraków 2002
Przedpełski J., Stefański J., Żydzi płoccy w dziejach miasta, Płock 2012
Fragment of the essay “Hunger in Warsaw”: http://www.zchor.org
Kazimierz Mayzner was born on July 6, 1883 in Warsaw, as the son of Izydor and Anna née Woldenberg. His father was considered a humanist and a patriot, he was an outstanding industrialist, co-owner of a trade company, co-founder of the Mayzner Society of Sugar Factories and sugar factory administrator, member of the Technicians Association in Warsaw and the Public Library Society in Warsaw, founder of schools, shelters and reading rooms. The Woldenberg family was, in turn, one of the more popular and distinguished Jewish families in Płock. Dawid Woldenberg, owner of the property at the former Kanoniczny Square, at Teatralna Street and the property of Nagórki Dobrskie, Wierzbówiec and the palace in Luberadz, was a well-known Płock philanthropist, co-founder of the Town Credit Society and Płock Charity Society. For many years he was also a member of the Volunteer Fire Brigade and a member of the Synagogue Supervision Board.
In 1903, Kazimierz Mayzner graduated from the 5th Government Philological Gymnasium (Middle School) in Warsaw, the graduates of which were, among others, Leo Belmont, Józef Hersz Dawidsohn and Marceli Handelsman. He also studied at the Faculty of Architecture of the Warsaw University of Technology, then left for Paris, where he also studied painting. In 1911 he graduated in law from Dorpat. In the years 1911–1917 he served as an assistant to lawyer Karol Gustaw Dunin, then as a counselor of the Central Welfare Council. In 1917, Kazimierz Mayzner came to his mother’s hometown, where he took the position of a deputy prosecutor, later a prosecutor, at the District Court in Płock. At that time, he lived in a tenement house at 6 Dobrzyńska Street (currently Kazimierza Wielkiego). In 1918 he joined the Town Council in Płock. During the Polish-Bolshevik war, he volunteered to join the army, where he served for two years as a lieutenant – auditor of the judicial corps.
In 1921 he was entered on the list of lawyers of the Law Council in Warsaw, department of Płock. Although, as Kazimierz Askanas recalls, law was a passion for Kazimierz Mayzner, he also was an activist in various areas of politics: he was associated with the Polish Socialist Party, then the National Workers’ Party and Christian Democracy. At the same time, he was the author of numerous articles published in newspapers and magazines (“Gazeta Polska”, “Scena Polska”, “Życie Mazowsza” and “Dziennik Płocki”), editor of “Przegląd Płocki” and “Głos Płocki”. He was one of the active members of the Tourism Support Association established in 1935 in Płock, whose goal was to promote tourism to Płock and its organization.
The greatest work of Kazimierz Mayzner’s life was the Artistic Club of Płock.
In 1929, with the participation of a small group of artists, musicians, writers as well as experts and art lovers, he set off to promote artistic life in Płock and create an art club in the town. The club was initially called the Płock Artists’ Club, from 1931 – the Płocczan Art Club (in Płock it was known as KAP). Thanks to the efforts of Kazimierz Mayzner, KAP became a user of the Płock theater building with a large exhibition hall and a modernly furnished café with a large garden and dancing space. The Artistic Club of Płock conducted broad activity, becoming the main organizer of cultural life in Płock: it organized exhibitions, lectures, discussions, performances and concerts. At exhibitions, the club presented works of, among others Natan Korzeń, Fiszel Zylberberg, Erna Gutkind, Maksymilian Eljowicz and Abraham Skórnik. Kazimierz Mayzner supported artists, painters and musicians by helping them with selling paintings and in organization of concerts.
As Kazimierz Askanas points out: “KAP’s activities created the town’s cultural and artistic atmosphere, not present there before, encouraging an unusual revival of cultural life, and in particular, creative work. The creation of the Artistic Club of Płock and Kazimierz Mayzner, who was the creator and main activist of this institution, should be considered a unicum on a national scale […] He managed to introduce the Club on the path of broad popularization of culture. At the same time, he expanded the Club’s activities to take care of artistic craftsmanship, and finally – the town’s aesthetics”.
Kazimierz Mayzner’s great success was “Szopki Płockie” (“Płock Farces”) – unusually accurate satires on representatives of the authorities and intelligentsia of Płock and the ideology of BBWR, as well as the exhibition of his play “Dziewczyna z winiarni” (“The Girl from the Winery”), which enjoyed great popularity among the inhabitants of Płock. Kazimierz Mayzner was awarded the laurel of the Polish Academy of Literature and the Gold Cross of Merit.
The activity of the Art Club of Płock was interrupted by the outbreak of World War II. Kazimierz Mayzner volunteered for the 4th Cavalry Regiment. After the war, he was imprisoned in the Murnau camp. After being released from the camp, he came back to Płock and returned to his legal practice. He died on March 28, 1951.
Askanas K., Adwokat Kazimierz Mayzner – znana postać na Mazowszu, „Palestra” 30/7(343), 1986, pp. 53-59
Askanas K., Sztuka Płocka, Płock 1991
Przedpełski J., Stefański J., Żydzi płoccy w dziejach miasta, Płock 2012
Our branch of the Szeraszew family comes from Radziłów and thanks to the documents stored in the Łomża department of the State Archives in Białystok it is known, that there were many members of the Szeraszew family in Radziłów and the local area. Joszka Szeraszew […]