A councilman, a dentist, a citizen
Written by: Monika Pastuszko
While walking the 3rd May Alley – once a promenade, and main Ostrowiec street – one can still see beautiful, old horse chestnut trees. In 2012 they got the name of “chestnuts by the Kamienna River” and became a natural monument, thanks to Ostrowiec city council decision. It is well known in contemporary Ostrowiec that these trees were planted by scouts. But it should be remembered that it was the 23rd of April 1917 when the City council decided to plant trees along the Alley. The impelementation of the decision – as one can read in the book “Żydzi Ostrowieccy” (“Ostrowiec Jews”) by Waldemar Brociek, Regina Renz, Adam Penkalla – “was given to a 3-person group with Ludwik Wacholder”.
Who was Ludwik Wacholder? He was a Jewish dentist, born in 1881, killed in 1942. In 1917, while planting trees, he was 36 and a member of the first after-war city council. Later he dealt with educational and sanitary issues as a councilman. He wasn’t a member of any party, but was a Zionist and an active citizen for many years. For example, he was a member the Committee of the Public Security. The committee was founded after the collapse of the Habsburgs’ Monarchy to prevent mess on the streets. Later he worked for the charity, splitting money sent by Jewish emmigrants from New York.
Wacholder was killed by the Nazis on April 28, 1942 by SS. As one can read in Ostrowiec Yizkor book, he was shot dead by Peter, SS-man, despite the fact that Peter promised “eternal gratitude” to Wacholder a few weeks before. Eternal gratitude – because the Jewish dentist had made golden teeth for him.
36 Jewish people were killed on the streets of Ostrowiec on that day, and 72 sent to Treblinka. They were considered ones who may resist against occupation. Wacholder, the active citizen and probably Ostrowiec influencer, was among them.
"Ostrowiec. A Monument on the Ruins of an Annihilated Jewish Community", red. G. Silberberg, M. S. Geshuri, Tel Aviv 1971.
W. Brociek, R. Renz, A. Penkalla „Żydzi ostrowieccy. Zarys dziejów”, Ostrowiec Świętokrzyski 1996.