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[Page 657]

The Activities of the Joint in Brest

By A. Wertheim

Translated by Dr. Samuel Chani and Jenni Buch

The Joint organization was active in Poland from the end of W.W.1 until the outbreak of W.W.2 – 1918-1939. In it's early years it was exclusively involved in helping the victims of W.W.1 by distributing food, clothing and medical assistance. The department that oversaw the reconstruction and building work was not established in Poland until 1923. Brest was the only exception to this – due to the special circumstances that the city had experienced during the war – the construction work began almost immediately. During the war almost 70% of the city's housing had been destroyed. The exiled residents had fled in all directions. After W.W. 1, the Soviet Union and Poland conducted a war that ended in 1921. During this time the formers residents trickled back slowly – thousands of homeless Jews settled in the ruins of the destroyed and semi – destroyed houses. Many crowded into the synagogues and prayer houses for refuge. Dozens of men, women and children lived in the Great Synagogue - screening off their sleeping space with sheets. The noise and tumult was intolerable.

The ruined city

 

Refugees living in the Synagogue
(Image Before My Eyes)

 

Officials of the Joint in Brest

Standing R-L: Mordechai Yaffe, Lola Greenwald, Sara Pollack, Tzvi Lomazhevski
Seated R-L: Chana Spector, Moshe Machlis, Moshe Steinberg, Israel Tvirinovski

 

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