There were no other comprehensive works in this area. There were only occasional articles in various domestic and foreign periodicals, moreover passages from the manuscript of Dr. M. Reifer s. A. (History of the Jews in Czernowitz), as well as from works by M. Liquornik, History of the Jewish Community in Czernowitz, and Dr. H. Sternberg, Jewish Middle Schools from the Jubilee speech celebrating the 60th anniversary of the founding of the Temple in Czernowitz.
When working with the available material, Dr. Soifer's system was not used. The various Jewish institutions and associations of Bukovina were classified according to their age and importance paying special attention to the individuals who were especially effective in the founding and maintenance of the associations. The names of these Jewish men and women should be remembered by posterity and be a shining example of humanity and love of ones fellow man for coming generations.
With the origin of the Jewish and Christian religions helping your fellow man became a religious duty demanded by God (Love your neighbor as you love yourself, With good deed, you will appease God.) Soon, throughout the world government officials organized the support of needy or sick people. Lion Feuchtwanger had Musa, the Domhern Don Rodrigue, from his History of the Moslems in Spain, read the following lines:
States are not divine institutions, they arise from the natural forces of life. Social associations are necessary for maintaining human culture; government power is necessary in order that men don't kill each other because they are by nature vicious.
In more recent times, also private groups (associations and institutions) have taken over the task of providing help (care for the sick, support of the needy, etc.) and so associations and groups have been created in all parts of the world which concern themselves with the care and support of needy individuals.
Bukovina, an Austrian crown land since 1774 with Czernowitz as its capital took a special place in this effort. It was not only the easternmost land in the Austrian empire, bordering on Romania and Russia which made it important commercially, but ethnographically, it was a little Austria since various nationalities (Romanians, Ruthenians, Jews, Poles, Germans and Hungarians) lived peacefully together in Bukovina creating a society in which the Jews played an important roll.
The Austrian government tried to promote the German culture and language in Bukovina even though people of German origin formed the smallest group. The German University was formed in 1875, the official language was German and the theater and cultural life were German.
However, this German character of Bukovina could only be artificially maintained with the help of the Jews, because they considered German their mother tongue. The Jews enjoyed full equality in Bukovina. They were allowed to hold all offices including administration and justice, until because of the Christian-German movement, they became aware of their own national identity and decided that Yiddish was their mother tongue which contributed to the downfall of the German character of Bukovina and as a consequence, the founding of the Jewish National Council.
Bukovina had in addition to the capital Czernowitz, many provincial cities in
which the Jewish element played a leading roll, as for example, Suceava,
Radauti, Sereth, Storozynetz, Wiznitz, etc. In all these cities, in addition to
the traditional prayer house, there were organizations, among them Zionistic
organizations under the leadership of men, such as Dr. Mayer Ebner, Dr. Theodor
Weisselberger, Dr. Leon Schmelzer, Dr. Markus Kraemer (Czernowitz), Dr. Adolf
Gabor (Suceava), Ing. Jona Spindel (Storozynetz), Alter Wassermann and Dr.
Lapojowker (Radauti), Siegmund Weissglas and Jakob Stenzler (Zastawna), Dr.
Hermann Schaerf (Sletin), Dr. Abraham Schaerf-Gilboa (Gurahumora), Israel Biber
(Dorna Watra), etc who later made a name for themselves in the Zionist movement.
Other authors will deal with the religious and Zionistic associations. This work will cover charitable and cultural associations, mainly in the capital city of Czernowitz.
Czernowitz was called with justice, the City of Associations. There were 200 associations of various sorts there and only the oldest and most important will be discussed, since it would take to much time to cover them all, especially the organizations that originated after WWI. If any important organizations are overlooked, they will be covered in the second volume.
Since the small wooden hospital building (with 14 wooden beds) was not adequate for the expanding Jewish population of Czernowitz, in 1853 the respected and wealthy banker and philanthropist, Markus Zucker purchased a building which lay in the Upper Synagogengasse from Nikolaus Baron Petrino and had the building converted to a hospital which he donated to the Jewish community. This otherwise primitively equipped hospital had more than 11 patient rooms and 42 beds. The hospital doctors were the wound doctor Osias Wagner, father of Heinrich Wagner who was later to become president of the Community and a member of Parliament and Dr. Bernhard Karmin. The Jewish Hospital excelled when in 1871; the leadership was taken by Dr. Moritz Schaerf (born 1843, died 1929). Dr. Schaerf led this institution until 1926 and was loved and respected in all circles of the Jewish population.
In 1898, the hospital was enlarged by the addition of several outpatient clinics. At that time, Dr. Gustav Schifter and Dr. Moritz Gold started working at the hospital. In 1900 two more doctors were hired, Dr. Hermann Chajes (born 1865, died 1922) and Dr Raphael Muenzer. Generous contributions by B'nai Brith allowed the hospital to be further enlarged in the years 1913-1919.The hospital was further enlarged in the years 1913-1919. Dr. Josef Ohrenstein (born 1866, died 1955) was selected as director of the new outpatient clinic for women's ailments. Dr. Ohrenstein later became the director of the hospital (1910-1940) and contributed greatly to its development.
At the end of the 30s the industrialist Noah Lehr contributed the funds for a new hospital that bore his name. The new building was dedicated in the presence of Dr. Markus Menczer, the leader of the Jewish community and the leaders of the government and the Jewish community.
During the war years (1940-1944) the hospital was lead by the doctors Dr. Lipa Wiznitzer (today in Haifa), Dr. Siegmund Neuberger and Dr. Jakob Landau (today university professor in Jeruslaem).
After construction of the new building, the hospital had 100 bens and in addition to the above named outpatient clinic had an outpatient clinic for orthopedic patients as well as a school for nurses.
The heads of the outpatient clinics were at that time: Dr. Martin Kraft and Dr. Otto Krauthammer (died 1955 in Israel) in the Internal Medicine Clinic, Dr. Buxbaum for the hearing clinic, Dr. Weinberg and Mrs. Dr. Sammet for the Gynecology Clinic and Mrs. Dr. Fanny Salter and Dr. Ossy Noe for the Children's clinic.
The Surgical Department was originally directed by Dr. Emanuel Flor and Mrs. Dr. Frieda Wilenko and later by Dr. Lipa Wiznitzer and Dr. Josef Rath.
In 1908, Dr. Hermann Fischer-Mosara built a children's hospital which accepted patients of all religions. Since Jews were soon eliminated from this hospital, it became necessary to create a children's hospital for Jews because the Jewish Hospital only had an outpatient clinic for children's diseases. At the urging of the Community president, Dr. Karl Gutherz., Dr. Wolfgang Fokschaner, in memory of his recently departed (1926) father, Dr. Max Fokschaner, generously paid for the erection and equipping of the Children's Wing. The building then bore the name, Dr. Max Fokschaner.
A Helio Theraputic institution for tuberculosis patients was built on the banks of the Pruth by the Joint3 that was directed by the well-known physician, Dr. Gustav Schifter. His wife, Mrs. Zunia Schifter, who today lives in Tel-Aviv and stands out for her charitable work, helped her husband in the leadership of the above-mentioned institution and after he died continued running the institution in an outstanding manner.
The Jews also had problems to overcome in the area of education. Although in the 4th decade of the 19th century there were two Roman Catholic elementary schools in Czernowitz, one for girls and one for boys, Jewish children were only accepted at these schools in limited numbers, since only tolerated Jews were allowed to send their children to these schools. Therefore several progressive Jews (Isak Rubinstein, Hermann Juster, Meir Nadler, Salomon Braunstein, etc.) projected the building of an Israelite-German Elementary School for Boys and Girls although, it was not until October 16, 1855 that the school was opened in a rented building on Karolinegasse. It consisted at first of three classes to which a fourth class was added after two years.
In the first year a director, 9 teachers, a rabbi and a servant were hired. There were 268 students registered at that time. In 1860, the school got its own building (corner of Universitaetsgasse and Goethegasse), which 3 years later got an addition and had 8 roomy classrooms, an office and a house for the director.
The first director of the school was the district rabbi, Dr. Lazar Igel who was also the religion teacher (1855-1863). He was followed by Salomon Schuetz (1863-1887), whose successor was the most senior teacher, L. H. Baltinester (1887-1897). The last school director was Kalman Dubensky, who was also the author of the celebratory speech for the 50th anniversary of the school in 1905.
The oldest association in the true sense of the word was the Kommis and Book Keeper Support Association founded in 1866 by 20 store clerks and bookkeepers. In 1866, there was a serious cholera epidemic in Czernowitz which claimed many victims. The association was founded at that time to help the clerks who were in great need with health care and other types of support. While at first, the organization only had store clerks and office workers as members, later, merchants, factory workers and members of the middle class joined. The association had its own building on Petersplatz which also had stores and rental apartments.
The first president was the respected businessman David Nachtigal who was followed by the equally well-respected businessman Kalman Salter. His successor was Jakob Gold, who had a large candy shop on Rathausstrasse and was well liked in business circles. His two sons, one a doctor and the other a federal court judge were held in great esteem in Czernowitz society. He was followed as president by Zacharias Pulmann (1923-1933), a highly esteemed merchant who enjoyed an especially good reputation in Czernowitz. The last president was Dr. Jaques Schnee who after his deportation to Russia in 1940 perished miserably there.
In 1867 the Tailor Sickness Support Association was founded which in addition to supporting its members had its own prayer house.
The same purpose was served by the Waiter Support Association, founded in 1875, whose long time president was Jakob Gottlieb, a well-known hotelier of Czernowitz
An eminent place among philanthropic organizations was the Peoples' Kitchen, founded in 1875 which took on the task of feeding the hungry for free or at low cost, without regard to their religion or nationality. The organization especially concerned itself with high school and university students.
The founder of the organization was the locally well-known philanthropist, Emanuel Rosenzweig. In later years, Prof. Dr. Neumann Wender and banker Edmund Luttinger supported it. Although the People's Kitchen occasionally had non-Jews on its board, in the end, the organization was totally Jewish run.
The organization had its own building at Mikuliczgasse 8. Special credit should be given to Mrs. Lina Trichter who for many years volunteered as director of the Peoples' Kitchen. Today, Lina Trichter lives in Israel (Safed) and occupies herself with charitable work. At this point we should also remember the administrative leader, Salomon Trebitsch who had the difficult task of finding the funds needed to sustain the organization.
The Temple Association founded in 1877 at the initiative of the aforementioned philanthropist, Heinrich Wagner is to be thanked for the splendid, Moorish style temple built in Czernowitz. Especially deserving of praise for raising the funds for the temple construction was Wilhelm Regenstreif (1833-1902) who headed the building committee and who traveled from city to city to gather silver objects for the eternal lamps, to study similar buildings and to bring capable craftsmen from and artists from Vienna and Bohemia to Czernowitz. The temple, after the plans of the Lemberg Professor Julian Zachariewicz, carried out by Czernowitz architects Anton Fiala and Johann Gregor was joyfully inaugurated on September 4, 1877 (28 Elul 5637).
The magnificent building was turned over to the Community on July 7, 1886. The leaders of the community at that time were: President Naftali Tittinger, Vice President Captain A. D. Bernhard Baltinester and the members of the Executive Committee: Aron Amster, Chaim Luttinger, Dr. Benno Straucher and Isidor Wischoffer.
The Czernowitz Temple, a symbol of the city went up in flames when German troops entered the city at the beginning of July 1941. German soldiers set it on fire with gasoline and firebombs. The skeleton of the temple still stands today. The Russian soldiers, who occupied Czernowitz, did not as was at first planned, tear down the walls and frame of the dome.
At first, the temple stood at the intersection of Tempelgasse and Karolinengasse with the front on a small square which three other streets entered; Franszensgasse, Universitatetsgasse and Senkoviegasse. Externally, the temple had an overwhelming appearance. It had a monumental main entrance and two side entrances (for women). One came into a roomy vestibule in which there was a memorial tablet on the wall with the names of the 100 benefactors, among them, the oldest and most respected families of the city. From the vestibule in which a votive tablet for Heinrich Wagner was also found one came through three doors into the main room, which was distinguished by rich paintings. Ample illumination came through the colored windows in both sidewalls. There were seats for men on both sides of the main aisle as well as along both sidewalls. The women sat on both levels. The floors as well as the seats were made of oak, richly carved. The walls were light blue with paintings by first class painters. The dome had a blue background sprinkled with golden stars. The altar and the ark4 were worth seeing. On both sides of the stairs to the bema5 were raised places for the chief rabbi and the chief cantor. In the center of the bema was a lectern for the preacher6. Above the ark which was provided with a red velvet, gold embroidered cover burned a silver eternal lamp. The ark held 60 torah rolls. The temple had a capacity of 1000 people. In the winter, services were held in a large room above the main entrance, the so-called Winterschule.
In 1878, the creation of two charitable associations that didn't survive should be noted. They were the Association Machseh-Lewjon, an endowment of the banker Abraham Luttinger, that had the task of providing firewood for the poor and which was later, after the First World War (1921) reactivated by the banker Edmund Lutinger with the goal of providing all the poor people helped by the People's Kitchen with firewood, and the Milon-Orchim Association as a branch of the Talmud Torah Association, which was a sort of asylum association for homeless people. This group was housed in a room of the Talmud Torah association and enjoyed the support of Jewish notables like Dr. Benno Straucher, Karl Klueger, Dr. Josef Ohrenstein and Dr. Jakob Landau. When a sanctuary for Jews were traveling through was established in 1917, the association was disbanded.
In 1884, three other charitable associations were founded whose chief purpose was to stand by members in need and to support them. The names follow:
The Israelite Widows Support Association7, which provided poor Jewish widows with medical help, drugs and other support and further, the Israelite Schewas Achimverein for support of its members in the case of sickness or need and the Bikur Cholim which had the purpose of visiting and supporting sick members. This association was disbanded in 1906 and in 1888, the Womans Support Association was founded in Czernowitz which at first had the goal of supporting its needy members, but later became a pure philanthropic association which also supported non-members.
The members of the association came from the circle of successful merchants and the middle class. The first board of directors consisted of the ladies Fanni Nadler (president), Karoline Tittinger (vice president), Laura Ebersohn, Mina Wachtel and Klara Kiesler.
During the First World War (1914-1918) the association ceased activity. In 1918, at the initiative of Miss Klara Klinger, who recently died in Israel, all the existing women's associations joined to form an action committee with Mrs. Gusti Weich as president and Miss Klara Klinger as secretary. The committee provided returning refugees with dwellings, wood, food and clothing, gave them legal help and also gave support to the sick and poor. In 1919, the Committee also distributed milk to poor families with many children.
In 1888, the Business and Commerce Association was established. Its main goal was also the support of needy members. The president of the association was Municipal and Community Council member Elias Kampelmacher. Baron Moritz Hirsch was an honorary member. This association didn't function during World War I, and resumed its activity in 1922.
In 1894, the Machsike Schabbath association was founded. This association provided a generous warm meal for poor people on Friday evenings and on the Sabbath. Moreover, poor families, incapable of working were each provided with 1 kg of flour and ½ kg of meat. Later, soldiers, prison inmates and hospital patients were provided with the proper food for the Passover meal.
The president of Machsike Schabbath was Executive Committee member, Isak Einhorn who dedicated many years to leading the association. The Joint and the Community subsidized the association.
On February 2, 1895, the Construction Worker's Association was founded in Czernowitz. This association was brought into life at the initiative of Community Council and Chamber of Commerce member Moritz Picker. The purpose of the association was to support sick members as well as widows and orphans, to place orphan boys in the shops of capable craftsmen to learn a trade and to sponsor lectures and presentations catering to the social, economic and cultural interests of the members. The original officers were president Moritz Picker, vice president Chaim Tennenbaum and Secretary Elias Grill (today in Israel). In 1897 the association obtained its own building on Dreifaltigkeitsgasse with a large hall for High Holiday services and various other festivities. Every year on February 2, the founding day of the association, a convivial evening took place at which not only the members and their families, but also the leading officials of the town were present. After the death of Moritz Picker, Elias Grill was unanimously elected president and served in this office until 1940 when the Russians occupied North Bukovina.
In 1898, the Girl's Occupational Association was formed. The purpose of this association, which was led by Mrs. Gusti Weichstand, was to prepare poor Jewish girls for a craft, bookkeeping and various other office work and through moral and material support to assure their future independence. Mrs. Lina Trichter served for many years as secretary of the association.
Every year, at the expense of the association, 100 girls were trained as seamstresses, milliners, hairdressers and nurses; moreover, the same girls were also given coursed in business, typewriting and stenography to educate them for office work.
The association stopped functioning during World War One and was never reactivated.
In 1900 at the initiative of the ladies Josefine Braunstein and Rosa Kozower, the Association for Feeding Poor School Children, Empress Elizabeth was founded. It set up the task for itself of providing the poor school children of the Israelite-German Elementary School with the daily main meal as well as clothing and shoes. At first the Association paid for the children to be feed in the People's Kitchen. From 1910 on, the organization was called the Regina Maria.
The organization at that time broadened its program and at the initiative of Mrs. Sarina Fokschaner, its long time president, built its own building at Pardinigasse 8, in which poor Jewish school children were cared for. In this building, the school children were not only feed, but they also had rooms where they could study and be instructed.
The raising of the very significant sum of money for building this institution, where approximately 400 children were cared for and had their home was only made possible through generous gifts of the board of directors themselves and by a fund raising drive the directors conducted.
The members of the board of directors in addition to the president, Frau Sarina Fokschaner who now lives in Israel and is still active in her characteristic area were the ladies Rosette Fischer, Nena Fischer, Berta Goldfrucht, Caroline Leiter, Rosa Fuhrmann, Pulmann, Claire Zwecker, Klara Klinger, etc.
In the same year, 1900. the Jeschias Achim Association was founded. It was the only organization to have its seat in the suburb of Klokuczka, although, its work took place not only in the suburb, but also in Czernowitz itself. The purpose of this organization was to provide all types of support for members as well as their widows. The organization didn't function during the years 1914-1921 and again became active in 1921.
The organization, Love Your Neighbor, founded in 1903, had the goals of supporting its members in case of sickness or accident, to help them at the marriage of their children, to cover the costs of burial and the grave stone and to care for the widows and orphans of deceased members.
In 1904 during a severe cholera epidemic, the organization Warm House was founded. Even though 70% of its members were Jewish, it had an international character. The organization built tearooms where tea and bread were served during the harsh winter months. It also provided firewood and money. The organization was not reactivated after World War One.
In the same year, 1904, the Jewish Vacation Home was founded to send Jewish middle school students to Lopuszna, a Luftkurort8 situated in the mountains of Bukovina, to recuperate in the sanatorium provided by Countess Elisabeth Wassilko.
The first president of the organization was Mrs. Lina Roth who was followed by Mrs. Rosa Kozower. The chairman was the druggist Philipp Fuellenbaum and the secretary was Mosche (Moritz) Liquorik, who now lives in Israel.
The opening of the Jewish Orphanage, took place in 1904/1905. Already in 1898 on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the reign of Emperor Franz Joseph I, the idea of building an orphanage in Czernowitz was discussed and an executive committee was formed to raise the necessary funds. Members of this committee were among others, Markus and Rachel Schlaefer, Benjamin, David and Jetti Tittinger, Loebel and Cecilie Salter , Josef Steiner, Jakob and Toni Gold, and Dr. Benno and Fanni Straucher It wasn't until 1904, that the orphanage on Franzosgasse was completed when the Heinrich and Josefine Wagner endowment of 662,928 crowns was activated and used for the construction of the orphanage.
The festive opening of the orphanage was attended by the Austrian Minister President, Dr. Ernest von Koerber, the Bukovina State President, Prinz Konrad Hohenlohe and the Greek Orthodox Archbishop and Metropolitan, Dr. Vladimir von Repta.
In 1913 the orphanage was legalized for the second time as the Emperor Franz Josef Jubilee Orphanage Foundation for Israelites in Czernowitz and latter was administered by the Community.
The mission of the orphanage was to raise Jewish orphans of both sexes and to train them for future employment.
During the period 1919-1923, the orphanage was associated with the Children's School Association, which will be discussed later, but after 1923, it was returned to the control of the Community.
The organization Jad Chasukuh, founded in 1905, had the same goals as the above-mentioned organization, Love Your Neighbor, that is, to support its members in case of accident or sickness, to help financially in the marriage of their children and to provide for the widows and children of deceased members. The organization was not active in the years 1914-1921.
In 1905, the organization Jewish-National Women's and Girl's Association, Deborah (Deborah Association for short) was started. Its purpose was to preserve Jewish culture by publishing brochures and periodicals, sponsoring lectures on scientific and Zionist subjects, and building libraries and reading rooms. The organization was also very active in Zionist affairs. The large library was destroyed during the First World War. On holidays, the students of the Israelite-German school were given all sorts of presents. The first president was Mrs. Caecille Blum. In the years 1914-1919, the organization didn't function. It took up its activity again in 1919 under the leadership of its last president, Mrs. Klara Klinger.
In 1906, the organization, Reciprocity, was founded in Czernowitz. Although the organization had an international character, mot of the members were Jewish. The purpose of the organization was to give a deceased member's family a one time payment whose size depended on the number of members the organization had at that time. The members of the organization came from all strata of society, like intellectuals, industrialists, merchants, bureaucrats, mainly, however from the middle class. The first president of the organization was Bank Director, Jakob Kindler. From 1914 to 1919, the organization was inactive.
The Czernowitz Asylum Association founded at the initiative of the pharmacist, Philipp Fuellenbaum on September 14, 1907 also had an international character. The goal of the organization was to provide temporary sleeping accommodations and care for the homeless and very poor people. Only a small number of Jews made use of this institution since they preferred to sleep in prayer houses and eat at the People's Kitchen.
During the First World War, the organization ceased to function and it took up
its mission again when the war ended. In the summer of 1924, the Asylum which
had in the meantime obtained its own building became publicly run.
At first, the leadership had more Jews than non-Jews (15 Jews and 7 non-Jews), but after World War I, the ratio was reversed. Jews from all circles of society contributed 90% of the cost of the Asylum building.
The establishment of the First Jewish Singing Society, later called Hasamir took place in 1907. The initiative was taken by several Jewish students who wanted to preserve and spread Jewish and Hebrew songs (folksongs and psalms) as well as secular music, with preference given to Jewish composers. The first president was the pharmacist, Philipp Fuellenbaum and his deputy was Hermann Bianowicz. In 1911, the organization had a choir of 100 men and 60 women which under the musical direction of the choir director of the Czernowitz temple, Josef Rosenstech (today, choir director of the Bucharest opera) successfully performed in Czernowitz and other cities of Bukovina. The organization had to stop its activity in 1933.
At the imitative of Dr. Benno Straucher, on December 2, 1908, the 60th anniversary of the reign of Emperor Franz Joseph, the corner stone of the Israelite Home for the Elderly (officially, the Emperor Franz Joseph Jubilee Aged and Invalid Home for Israelites) was placed on the building lot provided by the Community. This institution was administered by the Community and was meant to serve elderly Jewish men and women of Czernowitz who were without means.
The home was turned over to the public on December 31, 1911. It was in a splendid building, which had 5 rooms for men and women, 2 sick and wash rooms, kitchens and utility rooms, an office, 2 rooms for night asylum and a dwelling for the administrator. It should be mentioned that the Executive Committee member, Josef Blum contributed the not inconsiderable sum of 50,000 K for the building of the Home.
The Home continued to function during World War I, but since 1914, the Community again was in charge of running it. Since 1924, due to a shortage of funds, the patients could no longer be adequately cared for. In 1922, the home sheltered 54 people with ages ranging from 73 to 103. Of these, 21 were men and 33 were women.
In the years 1909/1910, three organizations were started with the goal of mutual support, for the members in case of sickness, providing weekly stipends and medical help. These organizations were the General Civil Sickness Support Association founded in 1909, the Oihew Jeschurim founded in the same year and the General Israelite Workers Support Association founded in 1910.
These three support organizations were not active during World War I. After the war they again became active, but soon were dissolved.
In 1912, in Czernowitz, the Bukovina Central Credit Society for Small Business and Industry was founded as a branch of the Jewish Colonization Association (JCA) to provide banking services such as currency exchange and providing loans and mortgages to its members. This society was inactive during the years 1919-1923. In addition to business, a small number of loans were made to officials and suffering unemployed workers. Loans were made to residents of Czernowitz and other cities of Bukovina.
In 1912, the married couple, Markus and Anna Kisslinger, founded Toynbee Halle. Using their own means, they had an imposing building with a large hall and many side rooms built on Tuerkengasse. The program of the Toynbee Hall Association was to educate and enlighten the Jewish people. To this end, Toynbee Afternoons were arranged, generally during the winter months, at which scientific lectures, as well as theater presentations were given.
In 1913/1914, an Apprentice Home was opened in Toynbee Hall, in which 10 apprentices lived and were supported by the Association. After World War I, in 1920 the home was closed.
In 1923, the Association used its funds to create a library that was open to the public.
The Association was directed by a curatorship which consisted of 12 members. Of these 12, 3 were elected and the other 9 were benefactors who were life members. Some of the elected members were the gentlemen; Dr. Mayer Ebner, Dr. Max Fokschaner, Prof. Abraham Heuman, Prof. Dr. Leon Kellner, Chief Rabbi Dr. Josef Rosenfeld, Aron Rosenkranz and editor Adolf Wallstein.
The lodges had special significance. The first was the B'nai Brith Lodge Orient, founded in 1911 as a branch of the Central lodge in Chicago. Its main goals were to honor the moral and spiritual character of the Jewish people, to grant support for members in case of sickness or need and to care for widows and orphans. The organization was closed, that is to say, new members had to be selected by secret ballot. The members belonged to the wealthy and intellectual circles of Czernowitz society. The lodge was also active in philanthropic efforts, supporting Jewish organizations like the Mensa Academica Judica, the sport club Makkabi, the Peoples' Kitchen, the organization Regina Maria and so on. Also, needy individuals were supported. The lodge also sponsored scientific lectures, which were usually at a high niveau. Some of the long serving presidents of the lodge were dr. Josef Ohrenstein, Dr. Jakob Landau, and so on.
A through description of the nature, character and activities of this eminent, important institution follows in volume II of this work.
The lodge Veritas, with the same program started in 1913. Veritas originally had an international character, but later (1923) became purely a Jewish organization. The lodge had no association with a worldwide organization. The membership was recruited from all levels of society. Veritas supported various Jewish organizations like the Worker's Kitchen, the Safa Iwria, the Mensa Academica Judicia, and etc. with small sums. Leon Koenig was president for many years.
In 1923, a group of disgruntled members formed the lodge, Fraternite that had an international character. The long time presidents of this lodge were Prof. Dr. Neumann Wender and banker Edmund Luttinger.
In 1912, the organization, Hachnusses Kalah was founded. The purpose of the organization was to provide orphan girls from Czernowitz with a dowry. The minimum age for the girls to receive a dowry was 20 years. Help was offered mainly to poor Jewish servant girls. In 1924, the amount provided was 4000 Lei.
At the initiative of Nathan and Josefine Horowitz, a married couple, know for their philanthropy and with help of the B'nai Brith lodge, a day care was started in 1913 in a private home for 4 to 7 year old children of workers and poor parents. This care was later reactivated and expanded in 1913 by Nathan Horowitz as the Children's Protection Association. Children up to 14 years of age as well as full and half orphans were accepted.
The facility was at first housed in the Old People's Home and later (1919) in the Community orphanage. With help of the Joint and the B'nai Brith Lodge the house at 19/21 Siebenbuergerstrasse was acquired. The orphanage of the Children's Protection Association was then moved to this building and at the end of 1923 it already housed 112 orphans. The children remained in the orphanage until they were 14 years old and were fed, clothed and educated there. Talented children were given a full education. Two thirds of the members of the board of directors of the Association were also members of the B'nai Brith lodge. Of the above-mentioned 112 children, 53 were supported by the local B'nai Brith lodge with funds from B'nai Brith of Chicago.
At the initiative of Dr. Max Diamant, the Jewish Theater Association, Gold Thread was founded in 1913. The purpose of the organization was the support of Jewish theater by arranging performances, development of actors, etc. The plan to have a permanent Jewish theater or a theater school in Czernowitz could not be realized until after World War I. Only then did the theater association succeed in bringing significant Jewish troupes like the Willner troupe, the Free Jewish stage and the Fischsohn troupe to Czernowitz. It cannot be contested that Dr. Max Diamant was an enthusiastic and successful promoter of Jewish theater in Czernowitz. (A complete report is found in volume II).
In 1913, the Association for support of Needy New Mothers was founded whose president since the beginning was Mrs. Karoline Leiter. Wives of lawyers, merchants and officials were on the committee of the organization. The purpose of the organization was to provide new mothers with money, linen and healthy food. While before the war, only the poorest of women were supported, later, wives of workers, small business owners and clerks applied for help. Mrs. Caroline Leiter gave the Association a building lot at 9 Dreifaltigkeitsgasse on which a maternity clinic was built that bore the name, Maternity Home, Caroline Leiter. A black marble tablet declared that, Here, Karoline Leiter, together with other philanthropic ladies, showed the true spirit of Jewish charity, by making the concept of this home a reality. The medial leadership of the clinic was in the hands of the experienced doctors, Dr. Weinberg and Dr. Korn. At the outbreak of World War II (1940), the maternity clinic was relocated to a military hospital and the sign with the name of the clinic as well as the marble tablet disappeared. Soon thereafter, Mrs. Karoline Leiter passed away.
After World War I, the Safa Iwria organization was founded in Czernowitz with the purpose of promoting the use of the Hebrew language by the building of schools The organization was first able to achieve this goal in 1918 when it became a Hebrew school umbrella organization to which all the Hebrew schools and institutions in the state9 belonged. At that time, Safa Iwria ran besides 3 kindergartens, several courses for students and public school teachers as well as a teachers' academy and a one room Hebrew public school and schools and courses in Gurahumora, Unter-Stanestie, Waschkoutz, Wiznitz, Radautz and Kotzman.
Next, the organization obtained a building lot on Synagogengasse on built their own school on it.
The long time president of the organization was Dr. Josef Bierer. After his death, Dr. Lupa Rappaport and then Prof. Dr. H. Sternberg led the organization. The secretary for many years was Kalman Gronich.
For many years, the organization received a monthly stipend from the Joint which was used for feeding and clothing the school children.
In 1918, the organization Jewish Apprentice Home was founded with the goal of providing room, board and education for boy and girl apprentices who couldn't support themselves. An employment service for apprentices was also associated with the home. The organization had only modest success with its program and was already dissolved in 1921. The home, a creation of the brothers Jakob and Josef Peretz was lead by Professor Josef Chussid.
In 1919, the Jewish School Association for Bukovina was organized to spread and foster the Yiddish language, to build up Jewish schools and to lead a political fight for recognition of the Yiddish language. In 1920, preparation classes for the education of Jewish teachers and in 1922/23 a course for educating kindergarten teachers were set up. Yearly, lecture cycles were held on scientific subjects, history, literature, etc.
In 1919, Dr. Chaim Lecker produced a Jewish chrestomathy for the Association and 5000 copies were printed.
The Association's library, founded in 1919, became in 1923, because of generous contributions and acquisitions of books, one of the most significant and largest Jewish libraries in Bukovina.
In 1919, branches of the Association were located in Wiznitz, Dorna-Watra, Gurahumoraa, Radautz, Suczawa, Storozynetz and Sereth. In 1919, the first Jewish public school was Wiznitz which however, was closed by the government in 1921. In its place, Yiddish language courses were set that were attended by students from the state schools.
In 1921 in Dorna-Watra, a trade school for Jewish apprentices was opened. The Association also opened a children's vacation home in Cecina, which bore the name, Elieser Steinberg.
In 1919, the founding of the Jewish Workers Education Association, Morgenroit took place. At first, the organization concerned itself only with the inner enlightenment and education of its members. It organized courses and lectures, distributed popular brochures, supported theater and musical entertainments, as well as sports. In 1920, the Association started an evening trade school.
With the support of foreign organizations (Joint, Ort, Allliance, etc.) the Association later built its own home and a school building on Althgasse, in which a splendid auditorium, a comprehensive library and a reading room were located. The library contained much Jewish and socialist literature in the German language. The many lectures signified a worthwhile contribution to the popularization of general and Jewish cultural values.
In 1919, the Romanization drive began and it was especially oppressive in educational institutions. Several middle school teachers banded together in self-protection and founded the Jewish Middle School. At the head of this organization stood the professors, Dr. Julian Pilpel, Dr. Hermann Sternberg and Israel Schleyer. The organization helped by the Jewish National Council founded a Jewish middle school as well as gymnasiums10 in the cities of Radautz, Suczawa and Gurahumora and a trade school, which existed for 3 years. On social grounds, with the support of American Jews, a program was started which in the year, 1920 provided approximately 50 middle school students with warm meals. Unfortunately, the organization didn't last long.
In 1920, the Economic Association for High School Students was formed. Its purpose was to provide its members with subsidies for medical care, books and study materials as well as legal representation. The organization had a Board of Directors on which representatives from all strata of society sat.
The first action of this organization was the founding of the Mensa Academica Judaica on February 12, 1920. It offered students, artists and authors two meals daily at bargain prices. For those without means meals were provided at reduced prices or even for free. The organization later started a job placement bureau and an information service for students in danger of being inducted in the military. Finally, those students who had to study at foreign universities because of the pressures of Romanization were given money to help pay living expenses.
The Joint and Bnai Brith subsidized the organization. Later (1923) it was possible for the organization to obtain its own building on Althgasse. The long-standing president of the Board of Directors was Karl Klueger. Dr. Birkenfeld and Dr. Jacob Pelzel (both now in Israel) were especially active.
On August 15, 1920, Poale Zion started the Jewish Workers' Kitchen, Poale Zion, in which workers could get good nourishing meals at low prices and orphans could get low price or even free meals. As a consequence, members of all strata of society and immigrants of all sorts as well as refugees made use of this institution.
The first president Steinmetz and the Czernowitz merchants Juda Teitler and Nathan Feller were of great service to this organization.
Poale Zion also founded the Jewish Workers Education Association, Ber Borochow, which had the task of providing a cultural education for Jewish workers. To this end, the association had a comprehensive library, a kindergarten, an elementary school for children that had been left back as well as a vocational school and technical courses to help workers advance in their profession.
In 1923, the kindergarten and the elementary school had to be closed, but the vocational school continued to successfully operate. Most of the courses in this school were taught in Yiddish.
In 1920, the organization, Hamoreh was founded to support the financial and intellectual life of private Hebrew language teachers. It owned a small library and sponsored scientific lectures.
In 1921, all the private Hebrew language teachers united in Chaburath Hamorim in order to improve their financial situation.
Both these organizations were well served by the Hebrew teachers, Rabinowicz, Gross and Puder.
In 1920, Joint formed the Reconstruction Society for the Jewish Population to provide low interest, long-term loans for personal use and for repair of destroyed buildings to merchants, craftsmen and professionals. The president of the Society was Karl Klueger and the director was Dr. Leo Loewner.
Two significant charitable organizations were formed in 1923, the Gemilath Chessed which had the purpose of making zero interest loans to members who were without means as well as to non-members. The second charitable organization was OSE, which was founded through the initiative of the Berlin OSE Central. The organization built a mother protection and infant care center and also supported immigrants.
In order to build a yeshiva in Czernowitz, in 1923, the Beer Majim Chaim organization was founded. The educational institution started with 60 students. There were 900 members in the organization.
In 1925, at the initiative of Oskar Wald, Max Rosner, Frewisch Barabasch, Schmuel Oberweger and Leo Schmucker, the Jewish Help and Legal Protection Society was founded with the goal of providing social and medical help as well as legal help. The head of the department for social aid was Executive Committee member, Gersson Brenner (died in Tel-Aviv). Doctors Schoenbaum, Engelberg and Dauber provided medical care. Especially active in the legal protection department were the lawyers, Dr. S. Rosenzweig, Dr. N. Zloczower, Dr. B. Strominger, Dr. J. Perl, Dr. J. Zimmer and Dr. H. Presser. At the head of the culture section, which staged very productive evenings, was Schlomo Wininger (died in Natania).
Presidents of the organization, which was dissolved in 1939, were City Councilman S. Mohr, Chamber of Commerce member, Rudich, lawyer, Dr. J. Zimmer and lawyer, Dr. B. Strominger.
Special mention should be given to the culture organization, Massada, which was founded in 1932. The purpose of this organization was the advancement of all branches of Jewish science, art and literature. It owned a very large Jewish library and had a relation with the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Out of this relationship came the founding of the Society of the Friends of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.
The Jewish Historic Society, which laid the cornerstone for Jewish history research in Bukovina, emerged from the Massada at the initiative of Dr. Manfred Reifer. Its honorary president was Prof. Simon Dubnow . The Society's first publication was Selected Historical Writings and Document Collection by Dr. Manfred Reifer, Czernowitz 1938.
We should also mention the Lawyer and Notary Official Association whose purpose was to support its members and represent their interests. The first president of the organization was Isidor Kottlar and the vice president was Philipp Grill. Later Hermann Lichtendorf led the organization.
The associations and organizations listed here do not by far exhaust the number of organizations that existed in Czernowitz. There were many more organizations and institutions, some more, some less important. All had, however the similar purpose of helping their fellow man. It speaks for the Jewish concept of love thy neighbor, that many Jewish organizations also offered help to non-Jews.
Continued in volume II of this work.
1) Jewish Community: Under Austrian rule, any community with a considerable number of Jews had to have a rigidly defined form of self-government whose officers were elected by the community. The basic term for the Jewish community and government is Kultusgemeinde which I simply translate as Community. There was a Kultuspraesident which I translate as president, two committees, the Kultusrat which I define as Community Council and the Kultusvorstand which I translate as Executive Committee. There was also a vice president, a secretary and several other positions. Jews in small villages surrounding a town with a Kultusgemeinde would belong to the Kultusgemeinde of the larger town Return
2) Gasse: I don't translate German street names. Gasse means alley and Strasse means street. Return
3) Joint: The Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) organized in 1914 in the USA for helping Jews in need in the whole world. It gets its funds from the United Jewish Appeal. It is still active. Return
4) Ark: A repository traditionally in or against the wall of a synagogue for the scrolls of the Torah Return
5) Bema: A raised platform in a synagogue from which the Pentateuch and the Prophets are read Return
6) Preacher: The text uses the word, "Prediger," which translates as sermonizer or preacher. If you know more about this strange usage, let me know Return
7) Organization names: The German names I translate, the Hebrew ones I can't translate Return
8) Luftkurort: A European concept, literally translated, it is air cure place. You don't really have to be sick to go to a place like this. It is sort of a spa, like Saratoga Springs used to be. Return
9) State: The term state refers to the political entity of Bukovina. Return
10) Gymnasium: The gymnasium is a secondary school that pupils attend for 9 years which leads to the Abitur diploma. The gymnasium prepares students for the university Return
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