The Jewish printing house of bilgoraj
R. Netta Kronenberg's big printing house had existed for many years in Piotrikov. In 1906, R. Netta transferred it to Bilgoraj.
Bilgoraj was controlled by the Russians prior
to WW1 and the printing house used to print books for the rabbis of Great
With the re-establishment of
The printing house was in constant trade
relations with book distributors in
On one Thursday in 1923 the 'Chaffets Chaim' of blessed memory came to Bilgoraj especially to print his book 'Mishnah Brurah'. On Friday he asked R. Netta Kronenberg to arrange a 'Minyan' for him for dawn as he was used to do and a condition this humble man who escapes from honor had- that he will not reveal that he, the Chaffets Chaim, is in Bilgoraj. But despite all this, the news spread as fast as the lightning throughout the entire town that all came to prayer on the Sabbath eve and morning, and later to Sabbath meals. On Saturday night, he was flooded heavily with 'Kvitalakh' (notes of wishes) but he refused to accept them, saying that he is a Jew equal to any other Jew. In the middle of night he was heard calling R. Hillel (his father in law who assisted him in his travels) to sit and study with him. As he was ready to leave, the entire town, religious and non-religious, was present there to escort him to the Koleika (narrow train) and carried him. When they passed through the streets, the Christians watched them from their windows and along the way with much respect. This way Bilgoraj was granted the honor of hosting in it the Gaon, the generation's great.
After that he had established his own publishing and printing house that produced tens of holy books including the famous Siddur 'Beit Haotsar' (House of Treasure). R. Netta Kronenberg and his publishing bought the rights for the book 'Haelef Lekha Shlomo' (the thousand to you Solomon) by R. Shlomo Kluger of blessed memory, and printed thousands of copies of it. He had also established a branched network of book trade it produced, printed and sold all over the world.
Print and the book trade grew and developed
and were constantly growing. They employed agents who had traveled around
Isaac Bashevis-Singer's first work 'Salamandra', (he himself was the grandson of the old rabbi of Bilgoraj and had resided there for many years) was also printed in Netta Kronenberg's printing house in Bilgoraj.
With the outbreak of World War 2, part of the writings and the machines were buried in the printing house's yard and remained there unhurt until the end of the war. All that was not, including thousands of matrixes, was destroyed by the murderous Germans.
When the war ended and the new Polish regime
was established, a former employee of the printing house came from
This is how R. Netta Kronenberg was exterminated with his great life work, the Jewish printing house whose fame was throughout the world. This is how they were exterminated alongside the community of Bilgoraj's Jewry.
Avraham Kronenberg, from 'The Destruction of Bilgoraj, pp. 39-44
Translated into English by Daphna Brafman