About the Częstochowa-Radomsko Area Research Group

Częstochowa Synagogue
Częstochowa Synagogue

CRARG finds and translates archival records from the late 1700s to the 1940s for Jews who lived in Częstochowa, Gowarczów, Janów, Kamieńsk, Kłobuck, Kłomnice, Koniecpol, Końskie, Krzepice, Lelów, Mstów, Nowa Brzeźnica, Opoczno, Pilica, Piotrków Trybunalski, Pławno, Praszka, Przedbórz, Przyrów, Radomsko, Radoszyce, Rozprza, Szczekociny, Wodzisław, Żarki, and many smaller towns nearby, with more than 1.6 million records so far.

Please contact CRARG President Daniel Kazez (danielkazez@crarg.org) with any questions about CRARG.

Daniel Kazez, CRARG President and founder, is professor of music at Wittenberg University, in Springfield, Ohio. His Englander family lived first in Mstów and Janów (and several small towns nearby), and later in Przyrów, Częstochowa, and Żarki. His Kifer and Talman families lived first in Pławno and later in Radomsko. And his Jurkiewicz and Lewkowicz families lived in Przedbórz and Góry Mokre. His family trees stretch back to the 1700s. His families lived in nearly every CRARG town.

David Ferleger, a member of CRARG’s Board of Directors, is a lawyer with non-profit board experience (Institute for Jewish Spirituality, Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, Germantown Jewish Center, Academy of Court-Appointed Masters, National Association for Rights Protection and Advocacy). He has argued five times at the U.S. Supreme Court and has litigated nationally. David's parents and aunts/uncles were Holocaust survivors from Poland (incl. ghettoes, concentration camps, and in hiding). Many other relatives did not survive. He lives in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

David Rose, a member of CRARG’s Board of Directors and a founding member of CRARG, is president of Merco Tape and lives in the lower Hudson Valley in New York. With the help of CRARG he has traced his Rozenblum family roots back to approximately 1710, in Częstochowa and Żarki. David lives with his wife Rebecca, a dog, two cats, three goats and, depending on how hungry his neighborhood fox is, various chickens, guinea fowl, ducks, turkeys and rabbits. They have four children and not enough grandchildren.

Bob Schupper, a member of CRARG’s Board of Directors, is the son of a hidden child of the Holocaust whose family was from Częstochowa. Bob’s mother died thinking that they were the only members of the Windman family that survived WWII. With the help of CRARG, several relatives have been found that escaped to the United States and England. Bob is a food industry executive who lives in Hershey, Pennsylvania, with his wife, and has two grown children.

CRARG president Daniel Kazez tells the story of CRARG…

3 Dec 2022
(A blog post that first appeared at the Minnesota Jewish Genealogical Society web site.)

When I was growing up, I knew very few of our relatives. One grandmother lived 3000 miles away, another lived 5000 miles away; one grandfather died when I was quite young, another died many years before that. As I heard it said, “We didn’t have any cousins.” When I graduated from high school, I honestly didn’t know what the word cousin meant! (Spoiler alert: In fact, we had lots and lots of cousins.)

CRARG had an odd beginning: I visited the city archives in Chicago, found the naturalization record for my great grandfather, and learned that he came from Łódź (a large city in Poland). I went down to the street, got a taxi, learned that the taxi driver was from Poland, and had him teach me how to pronounce “Łódź”!

By this time, I had done quite a bit of traveling related to world music. (I’m a music professor.) Having already done a concert tour of major cities in Western Europe as a solo cellist, I decided to do a concert tour in Eastern Europe, focusing on the towns in Poland where my family lived. Of course, I started in Łódź. It was a big concert, with television cameras, newspaper coverage, and all the rest. The next morning, I went to the archive, looked up my family name, and discovered that my family actually never lived in Łódź! I had a driver/translator, and we drove south, to the town of Częstochowa, where I had my next concert. Why Częstochowa? My research indicated that my great grandmother was from there. As we drove, I saw an exit for the town of Radomsko. I don’t remember why, but I pondered: maybe this is the town where my great grandfather was actually from?

The concert in Częstochowa went very nicely, and the next day of course I hit the archive. Records for Częstochowa indicated… wrong town! Then I began going through a huge collection of books, several dozen in all, each about 3 inches thick. They listed the non-permanent residents of Częstochowa, year by year, and then I found it: a listing for my great grandmother, indicating that she was from a small town near Częstochowa.

A few years back, I had set about to do complete research (finding / translating / typing) for the all Jewish records of each of the places where my great grandparents lived: İstanbul, several small towns in present Ukraine, and several towns in Poland. I pretty much conquered the records of İstanbul and those small towns in Ukraine, and now it was time for Poland. I teamed up with a few other researchers to fund a few days of intensive research from afar. Those few days grew to weeks, and then months and years. Early on, CRARG became a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization. Next year, CRARG celebrates its 20th birthday.

Along the way, in these various places, I discovered that my parents had 60 first cousins. And now my various family trees go back to the 1700s.

CRARG’s core area, for research back to the 1700s, is the area of Poland that includes Częstochowa and Radomsko (hence our name “Częstochowa-Radomsko Area Research Group”). CRARG research has always focused on all Jewish records and always complete sets of data, rather than just looking for particular family records.

At CRARG, we realize that our families could have been anywhere in Poland by the 1940s, so our area of research during the Holocaust era is all of Poland. CRARG’s complete database (late 1700s to the 1940s) includes over 1.6 million records. Membership (via a contribution) is necessary for access. CRARG’s database of Holocaust-era records now includes more than 400,000 records and is freely searchable.

Learn about your family…

Begin by trying our search engine for Holocaust-era records.

Check out a few of our finished projects…

Here are some sample images from a few dozen of our finished projects.

Learn more about Polish Jewish genealogy…

Read about surnames, maiden names, Polish spelling, and more.

Check out some common searches at CRARG’s Database of Holocaust-Era Records…

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About the CRARG search engine…

The CRARG search engine was designed by Ben Kazez, whose other work includes an index of arias, duets, and choruses by instrumentation, text, translation, composer, key, and meter.

Historical information on towns is drawn from Encyclopedia Judaica (Jerusalem, Israel: Macmillan, 1978), Shmuel Spector, editor-in-chief; The Encyclopedia of Jewish Life Before and During the Holocaust (New York: New York University Press, 2001); The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Encyclopedia of Camps and Ghettos, 1933-1945 (Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana University Press, 2018); Pinkas Hakehillot: Encyclopedia of Jewish Communities, Poland (Jerusalem: Yad Vashem, 1976); and several town Yizkor books. Thank you to Gloria Berkenstat Freund (Yiddish) and Udi Cain (Hebrew) for their help with translating town histories.

Thinking of joining CRARG? Feel free to write to me (danielkazez@crarg.org) to ask if we have records for your family! —Daniel Kazez, CRARG President (a volunteer/unpaid position)