The World That Was
A Look Back
“From very young age our elders, and especially the Rabbi in our Cheder, taught us that we, the Jews in the Diaspora, were waiting for the Messiah to come and redeem us and take us to the land of Israel. And it was well known to all of us that all of Jewish Wolbrom, including all prayer houses and homes, would also go to the holy land. Nevertheless we were at the same time deeply rooted in our hometown of Wolbrom, as if we had been living there from the creation of the world, as if the town’s two wide squares had been the ground in which the seeds of our entire physical and spiritual lives had been planted, and where they had developed...”
Nathan Chofshi in Wolbrom Irenu
“The Jews of Wolbrom were whole Jews, with their own particular character and mark. Whole Jews – strong and healthy in body and soul. There was a quality of Jewish charm and a genuine human substance in their lives. Despite their backward situation and the deepening spiritual division, the Wolbromers were devoted Jews, who loved their people and every human being, and who were striving for truth and redemption. This was the legacy they took with them wherever they emigrated. And Wolbrom Jews’ migration within Poland was a most important quality of their nature. Wolbromers did not stay within the confines of our city. They left and settled in large numbers in each city and town in Poland and worked in different businesses and trades. There was hardly a city or town in Poland that did not have Wolbromer Jews, and by means of their decent and inspiring life style they contributed to their home-town’s reputation. We could even say that more Jews were to be found in other towns and cities than in Wolbrom itself – where there were about 5,000 Jews. They could be seen in Warsaw and Lodz, Czestochowa and Lublin, and in all the cities of Zaglembie. With the Polish occupation of Upper- Silesia after World War I, the Wolbromers managed to acquire a certain standing in all the Silesia cities, foremost in Katowice. And wherever they went, they procured solid economic positions. However, their absence was not felt in Wolbrom. On the contrary, those that had departed were a blessing unto the community; they provided money for their relatives that remained in the town… I believe that there were no men of important reputation in Wolbrom, except some great rabbis. No famous authors, no reputed scientists, and no significant public figures. Wolbrom’s name did not appear in the newspapers. There were no exceptional events. The town was not known for its debates or disputes. There were no pogroms or expulsions..."
M. Sh. Gshuri (Bruckner) in Wolbrom Irenu