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[Page LXXVII]

Youth Movements
and Organizations

Ze'irei Zion

by Ephraim Schreier

With the end of the First World War, Tlumacz, along with other towns in Poland and Galicia, experienced a sense of social and national liberation of a romantic nature. This led to the formation of the two romantic movements in the “return–to–Zion” movement: the “Hashomer Hatzair” on the one hand and “Ze'irei Zion”, a girls' organization, on the other, to which belonged Leah Lentz, Handa Lentz, Hodel Zwiker, Leah Korn, Wieder, Reisel Wajs, Fruma Berger.

This group was a harbinger of the activity that was to develop and expand in Tlumacz after the war years.


“Poale Zion Left”

by Ephraim Schreier

The Tlumacz branch of “Poale Zion” was founded several years before the First World War, and it was active in all its stages of development. A Tlumacz member, Shmuel Inzlicht, was on the editorial board of the movement's organ, Der Yiddisher Arbeiter, in Vienna. In the conference held in Lemberg which witnessed the split between the “right” and the “left”, most of the Tlumacz members were with the “Poale Zion Left”. The branch was represented at the conference by Mendzi Krum, Mendl Redner and others.

In the early 1920's the branch faced police action and arrests. Bunio Korn and Naftali Haber were among those taken into custody. The branch did not get legal status and existed under the disguised name of “the Borochov Library”. The branch had quite a few members and took active part in public affairs, with representation on the Town Council and community institutions. Its members came from the working classes and small craftsmen.

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Politically, the Tlumacz branch was considered one of the most important in eastern Galicia, from the standpoint of its influence in the town and its active program. It had a strong working nucleus, and it reacted energetically to general and local social problems.

Party activists came on frequent visits to address the branch: Zerubabel, Erem, Petersil, Gershuni, Steinmetz, Vronski, Markscheid of Colomeia. The branch did much to foster Yiddish literature. The Borochov Library, the only Jewish lending library in town, had many subscribers. Local and visiting writers and artists appeared at various events sponsored by the branch.

There was also an organized youth group, Yugent, headed by Meir Heningsberg. A sports circle by the name of “Gwiazda” was formed.

The influence of the branch may be estimated by an interesting event. When the Endek–oriented management of the “Sokol” hall refused to rent the hall for a Jewish performance, the branch proclaimed a ban on it and set up picket lines to keep Jews from attending film showings or other events in that hall. A few months later the management gave in and rescinded its decision.

The active nucleus included Mendzie Krum, Ella and Mendl Redner, Shloo spund, Matti Gross, Haim Inzlicht, Leibtze Spund, Shmuel Mautner, Nissan Dubester, H. Korn, Moshe Ziller and Ephraim Schreier. Mordechai Feierman was active before his illness.


“Hashomer Hatzair”

by Munio Wurman

Until the outbreak of the First World War, the Zionist Organization was almost the only place, other than the Hebrew School, the Baron Hirsch School and the cheder, where the young people could gather and learn about the renewed nationalist movement.

The establishment of the general scout movement generated the idea of a similar Jewish organization. Earlier efforts toward this end were made in the large centers, like Stanislawow and Lemberg. The Lemberg scout group was organized by Dr. Ephraim Washsitz (between 1910 and 1914). In 1922 the “Hashomer Hatzair” groups began to be formed. In “Ze'irei Zion” there were circles which wanted to turn the organization into a scout

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movement; this desire was influenced by the German scout youth. The shift to Zionism came after the outbreak of the war, when many young Jewish refugees began coming to Vienna. When these young people returned to their hometowns, they formed “Hashomer Hatzair”.

In Tlumacz, students returning from Vienna were instrumental in forming the organization. Among the organizers were Baruch Schweffelgeist (later “Goffer”), the Haberman couple, Mintzer (Prof. Diringer), Wieder, the Blumenstein sisters, Spirer, Szpitzbach, Stein, Fischer, Wunderman. They were able to organize all the high school students and other young people. Their club was in the building of the Fish Hotel. Connections were made with the headquarters in Lemberg. The branch arranged lessons in Hebrew, set up a library, and engaged in various activities; a special unit chopped firewood for Jewish homes and turned the earnings over to the organization.

Regular activities began after the leadership attended the national convention in Lemberg, in 1920. The first uniforms appeared – belts, tassels, scout whistles. Most of the activists, however, aware of the destructive effects of life in the Diaspora, decided to make their aliya, and most of them did. Now only the young were left in the town. Their task was all the more difficult because the high school administration forbade membership in any group other than the Polish scouts.

The aliya of the leaders had a strong impact, not only on the Jewish community. They took part in laying the roads and drying the swamps in the Third Aliya period. Some of the – Goffer, Avni, Wunder – entered public service.

The young people left in Tlumacz were organized by Wilo Spirer, later an instructor in Hebrew in the Wilno high school. Bronek Mandel took over the leadership. The branch moved to a small hall in Pinye Berger's house; the library was set up there, along with the photographs of the heads of the Zionist movement and pictures of the tlumacz branch. (Bronek Mandel was saved by an “Aryan” certificate, reached Eretz–Israel and died after the State was established). In December 1922, under police pressure, the group was forced to disband.

Aside from Bronek Mandel, the branch activists included Hersh and Yosef Korn, Balcha Steinberg, Hannah Berger, Munio Wurman, Israel and Yehiel Mintzer, Mendel Fisher, Sigmunch Zinnreich, David Gross, and Bernard Streit.

At a meeting in the fall of 1924, attended by Yosef Korn, Henek Kaufman and Munio Wurman, it was decided to renew the activity of the branch. Young people, mainly from outside the school system, were brought

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in. Two groups of boys and two groups of girls were organized for regular programs. The library was still intact. The groups engaged in scout work and went on trips. Since they had no clubroom of their own, they first used “Tombe–Halle” and later rented a hall in the Spiegel house. Later they moved to a larger hall in a lane next to the public bathhouse. The Central Council in Lemberg sent speakers – Polan d and Mazek Orenstein (Mordecia Oren of the Prague affair). After Orenstein's visit, Henek Kaufman left the branch, and two members went to the instructors' course in Zhaluna (in the Carpathian mountains). The Tlumacz high school expelled, for their membership in the branch, Yosef Korn, Mendel Fisher, Lonek Wurman and Kraushar. Among those who made their aliya were Yitzhak Lepold (killed in Hagana training, as he shielded his comrades with his body from an exploding grenade) and Lonek Wurman, who was later expelled by the Briish. During the period of Russian rule in Little Eastern Poland he was summoned to Kiev, and all trace of him disappeared.

In 1926, Munio Worman and a large number of members went over to “Betar”, but the branch continued functioning. In the meantime, more members made their aliya: four of the Weissman family – Esther Weissman to Kibbutz Mizra, Genia Rosenthal to Kibbutz Hamaapil.

The entrance of the Soviet forces put an end to the activities of the Tlumacz branch of “Hashomer Hatzair”.


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Gordonia

by Zvi Drapper

In the experience of the young people of Tlumacz' organized society, an important role was played by “Gordonia”, established in 1926 by Motl and Benjamin Spiegel, Orcho Schwarzbard, the late Wolf Spund, Shmuel Gottlieb and other who devoted much of their free time to the organization. The “Gordonia” program was aimed at rendering the youth more creative, toward hachshara and aliya.

The group enjoyed a high spirit of teamwork. The cultural aspect was strongly emphasized. Every member had to study Hebrew and to attend courses in the history of Zionism and the Jewish people. A wall newspaper carried items about life in Eretz–Israel. The organization took active part in the national funds, held regular meetings on Saturdays, and discussed life in the collective kibbutzim. Its members went out to the rural

 

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districts in the summer, and met with other branches of the movement.

At the age of 18 a member had to go in for hachshara; only a few were able to make their aliya, however, because of the shortage of certificates.

“Gordonia” had a drama circle for performances before the members, but it also appeared publicly in the “Sokol” hall, the Ukrainian “Prosvita” and “Tombe Halle”. The members of the circle were D. Schwechter, L. Toisher, Messia Streit, Hanna Ziller, Michael Salmon. David Bader was the stage director.

Only a handful of the members survived the Holocaust.


The Mizrachi Movement
and “Hehalutz Hamizrachi” in Tlumacz

by Dov Wiener

The “Hechalutz Hamizrachi” of Tlumacz was founded in 1924 by a small nucleus of young Torah scholars. These were excellent young people, ready for action, who saw no future in the town. I met with this youth quite often and felt the problems it was undergoing because it had no leadership. Tlumacz already had pioneer youth movements of all kinds, except the religion–oriented.

As a student in Lemberg I worked in the central office of Keren Hayesod and came to know the workers of all the Zionist parties. I was especially impressed by the representative of the Mizrachi and Mizrachi youth, the delegates from their organizations to the movement in Galicia. Their devotion to anything that had to do with Eretz–Israel was boundless. There were among them esteemed individuals: Rabbi Meshullam Roth of Horostkow (on arrival in Eretz Israel he became a member of the Chief Rabbinate in Jerusalem), and Rabbi Simcha Babbad. Rabbi Babbad used to come to lecture at the university in his Hassidic garb. He debated the subject “Judaism and Hellenism” with Prof. Zhelinski, speaking in Polish to throngs of listeners. I met many young scholars who were engaged in business but gave much of their time to Zionism.

On my return to Tlumacz for a holiday I began working on the establishment of a “Hechalutz Hamizrachi” branch in the town. I met with young people in the synagogue of the Chortkow Hassidem, among

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Them Yehoshua Shapira and Shmuel Zvi Bikel (Rehovot). They brought in others, among them Dov Horn (Haifa) and we began our activities.

We held our meetings in the synagogue. Later several religious young women with good schooling joined the group, among them Miriam Shapira–Feit (Netanya), who opened the first religious kindergarten in Tlumacz (in 1923), zahava Herman–Butzin (Bnei Brak) and others whose names slip my mind.

All of them were looking forward to making their aliya. We held several meetings in private homes, but the boys shied away from them. When Yosef Sommer came into the group, he let us have a room which had been used for storing herring. We renovated it ourselves and turned it into the local “Hechalutz Hamizrachi” headquarters. We were visited by members of the Mizrachi Central Committee, among them Meir Plass, who lectured on the history of Mizrachi and Hapoel–Hamizrachi in Eretz–Israel. This led to regular programs and a general integration with the Zionist network in Tlumacz. We took part in raising funds for the Zionist movement; we sent our people with Jewish Nation Fund boxes to every wedding.

Our members studied the history and geography of Eretz–Israel. They bought Hebrew books with their own money and established a small but basic library.

The main goal of the members was to get to Eretz–Israel, but this was not an easy task. After undergoing hachshara, they still had to wait for certificates. Those who received them were joyous, and the others were envious. Several of the boys learned carpentry in Arye Messing's shop. Dov Horn worked in his father's carpentry shop; later he brought his entire family – parents, sisters and brothers – to Eretz–Israel, all because he was a master craftsman.

On the ever of Rosh Hashana (1929) the first of our members left for Eretz–Israel: Zahava Herman, Miriam Shapira, Dov Horn and Shmuel Zvi Bikel. Their ship arrived on Yom Kippur, and they remained aboard until the next day. The country was then in the throes of the 1929 riots.

As a result of the “Hechalutz Hamizrachi” movement in Tlumacz, the older religious Jews came to life in Zionist work. They had been put off by the General Zionists because the latter held their meetings on Friday evenings or Saturday afternoons. Thus the “Mizrachi” was born. Abraham Kornberg, the carpenter, had visited Eretz–Israel before the war and now pushed the idea of buying land there. Among the first members I recall the names of Moskowitz, Motl Knol and Rubin.

The guiding spirit of the Tlumacz “Mizrachi” was Chaim Lam, the son of Rabbi Melech Lam who settled in our town in the early 1920's. Chaim

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Lam was well educated and a fine orator. He devoted himself to this work, and more of the young people went to Eretz–Israel, among them Rachel Feier (Tel Aviv) and Sarah Baron (Jerusalem).

I made my aliya in March of 1930, when the country was undergoing severe unemployment. The committee appointed by the Mandatory Government to investigate the riots issued a report unfavorable to us. The Government followed with a White Paper which curtailed aliya. Still, our people went there singly, until the Holocaust.


“Hechalutz”

by Ephraim Schreier

There was also in Tlumacz a non–affiliated organization, “Hechalutz”, an independent body open only to members of other Labor Zionist organizations. Its activities were concentrated mostly on matters of hachshara and aliya. Its clubhouse was in Zalman Weintraub's residence.

The “Hechalutz” activists were Shmuel Mautner, Nissan Dubester, Meir Gutstein, Sheike Shpira and Velvl Salmon.

The organization functioned during the early 1920's and suspended activities when most of its members made their aliya.


The “Mizrachi”

by Ephraim Schreier

The Mizrachi Party didn't have a set framework, at first. Its program was mostly social, restricted to gathering from time to time. The only time that it came to life was during the campaigns for the Zionist Congress.

Later, when Haim Lam and Moskowicz settled in Tlumacz, the Party assumed a regular format. The two men possessed political acumen, carried authority and were able to organize the group.

Conditions in Tlumacz were favorable for the growth of the Mizrachi. There was no “Agudat Yisrael” in Tlumacz to compete with it, and the field for action among the religious residents was open.

Among the Mizrachi activists were Haim Lam, Moskowicz, Leibele

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Ruben, Freilich, Berl Wiener, Mehulam Bikel, and Avraham Kornberg, the carpenter, who spent some time in Eretz–Israel.

Tlumacz also had a “Hapoel Hamizrachi” grop. Many of its members went through hachshara and made their aliya: Berl Wiener, Sara Baron, Shaike Shpira, Shmuel Hersh Bikel, and Genia Horn. Sheike Shpira headed the pioneer group.


The General Zionists

by Ephraim Schreier

Despite their relatively large number of registered members, the General Zionist parties in Tlumacz were rather weak. Their influence was most marked in the middle class. They managed to rally many voters in the elections to the Sejm, the Town Council and the Community.

As did many Zionists in Eastern Galicia, most of the General Zionists in our town belonged to the Et Livnot ( “Time to Build” group also called the Reichists, named for their leader, Reich). They were active workers for the Jewish National Fund and the Keren Hayesod. They also had influence on the women's organization in Tlumacz.

The active nucleus consisted of well–known Tlumacz personalities: Drs. Rosenkranz and Halperin, followed by Shaya and Yoel Redner, bondzek Lev, Getzil Spirer (for many years the J.N.F. stalwart), Bunie and Itzi Epstein and Yankel Streit, who regarded himself as the adherent of Greenbojm's “Al Hamishmar” group.

The “Ahvah” youth organization developed an active program and exerted much influence on academic circles. It assisted in popularizing Zionism and the funds. “Ahvah” was headed by Dr. Gezelt, Berl and Shlomo Streit, Shlomo Ritzer, Peretz Sprechman and Yaacov Kerner (passed away in 1971).

The establishment of the parties and youth groups drew away many of the future members of the General Zionist party. “Ahvah” was founded by the General Zionists to offset this possibility; the Tlumacz branch emerged back in 1927, and Peretz Sprechman agreed to lead it. The membership grew to some 60 or 70 young people. The group met once a week for lectures, lessons in Hebrew, get–togethers and parties. They worked for the national funds, sent a few of their number for farm training ( “hachshara”); Yaakov Kerner actually made his aliya. The General Zionists made use of their services in the election campaign to the Sejm, Zionist

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Congresses, the Town and Community Councils. Dr. Stuff and Hager visited the group in the name of the Central Committee.

When the Nazis came, the young people suffered the same fate as their elders. Peretz Sprechman was saved from the Nazis by a mircle, but was murdered on the way from Tlumacz to Stanislawow by Bandera's men. Haim Inzlicht was also killed. Leiser Buchwald of Nizhniov was able to escape.


Hitachdut

by Munio Wurman

As of the end of the First World War, Tlumacz had two Socialist parties: “Poale Zion” and the “Bund”. When the Hitachdut Party was formed in Galicia, some of the young Zionists and supporters of Labor Eretz–Israel, as well as “Hechalutz” members broke away from the General Zionists and organized the Hitachdut and Gordonia. It should be noted that Tlumacz didn't have a “Poale Zion Right” at all. This laid the groundwork for the formation of the Hitachdut. In the group which initiated this move were Wolf Spund, Motl and Bunim Spiegel, Urche Schwarzbard, Shmuel Gottlieg (now in Israel), Dudya Kreindler, Yankel Lepold, Motl Weiss, Fishel Grindlinger, Shlomo Gleiss, and others. Later they were joined by Dr. A. Schwarzbard and Izho Knol of the academician youth.

The organization maintained a strong Zionist program, in propaganda, fundraising for Eretz–Israel, and campaigning during the elections to the Zionist Congress. In local public and community matters and social and internal politics, the Hitachdut functioned within the General Zionists framework. The social–cultural program consisted of regular membership meetings, public gatherings, debates, entertainment evenings, and drama circle performances.

From time to time the group was visited by party people from other places and central headquarters in Lemberg. Among them were Zvi Heller, Kopel Schwartz and Nathan Meltzer. The Party clubhouse was in the home of Haim Inzlicht.

Several members prepared themselves for aliya, but only a few reached Eretz–Israel.


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The Revisionists – Metsada– Brit Hachayal

by Munio Wurman

At first the Revisionists were not a party set apart but rather members of the General Zionists. In the 1927 elections to the 15th Zionist Congress, the Revisionists received only 12 votes, but in 1929 they received 142 votes, for the 17th Congress two years later 232 votes, and for the 18th, in 1933, they mustered 347 votes. In September 1935, after having broken away from the Zionist Organization and set up the New Zionist Organization, they were given 592 votes.

An important role in the development of the Revisionist party was played by Yosef Sommer. He made the contact with the Party in Lemberg, whose spokesmen were sent to Tlumacz from Lemberg, Warsaw and Stanislawow to address party and mass meetings. The Revisionist Party developed parallel with Betar.

Alexander Salat, M.A., headed the party. On its executive were Wruman, Mandel, Bildner, Sommer, Zelcer, Held, Reiter. In the elections to the Sejm, the Town Council and the Community Council, the Revisionists supported the Zionist candidates. At first they participated as the separate faction in the General Zionists, but as the ideological rift grew deeper, they established a new party.

Tlumacz always sent delegates to these conferences. M. Alexander Salat and Munio Wurman represented Tlumacz on the party council for Little Eastern Poland. Yosef Sommer and Fabian Reiter represented Tlumacz on the district council. M. Wurman was a member of the Little Eastern Poland Executive (1933–1936).

A general meeting of the 120 registered members was held once a week to discuss current affairs. The Executive assigned the work and conducted the election campaigns.

After Jabotinsky's withdrawal from the Zionist Organization, he had the support of most members of the party in Tlumacz, and a branch of the New Zionist Organization was established in the town.

“Metsada” was an organization of school pupils, established by Sommer. At its height it had more than 30 members and held its cultural activities in the Betar hall.

Sommer was also the founder of “Brit Chachayal”, made up of veterans of the First World War. The Tlumacz branch took active part in the grand parade in Stanislawow, when Jabotinsky visitied the city.

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All of these organizations were represented on the committees of the Jewish National Fund, “Ezra” and the Tel–Hai Fund.


Betar (Brit Trumpeldor)

by Munio Wurman

In 1923 Zeev Jabotinsky withdrew from the Zionist Executive in protest of Weizmann's conciliatory policy toward the Mandatory Government in Eretz–Israel. In December of the same year, he met in the Latvian capital of Riga with a group of young people who dreamt of the establishment of a Jewish state. This was the beginning of the Jewish youth movement “Betar” (Brit Trumpeldor).

Two years later, Yosef Sommer set about organizing the youth in Tlumacz into a scout group, and shortly afterwards the group became the nucleus of the local Betar branch.

In 1927, Betar's national commander, Adam Bibring, M.A., met with Munio Wurman, who then brought his group of young people into Betar and became its leader. Soon this branch became the strongest in the entire district. It was joined by a group of university students, who raised the level of the branch and improved its educational program. Among them were Henek Kaufman, Julik Fischer, Julik Mandel, Fabek Reiter, Salka Steinwurzel and Lonka Weitz (both graduates of the Teachers Academy), Moshe and Yitzhak Katz. The branch was visited several times by members of the staff command of Little Eastern Poland, and its executive earned praise for the exemplary branch activity. Whenever Jabotinsky visited Stanislawow, a company from Tlumacz would go there.

Aside from its cultural and scouting program, the branch would have weekly outings. After strenuous efforts, the branch was able to put together a battalion for military training, under the command of Julek Mandel and under the instruction of Polish army officers.

At first the Betar members used to gather in the yard and buildings belonging to Sommer. Later, with the aid of the Community Council chairman, it was given a large hall near Schwechter's warehouse. In 1932 the head of the branch was made commander of the entire Stanislawow district. In March of 1933 a district convention was held in Tlumacz, attended by the branches in Tlumacz, Stanislawow, Halicz, Colomeia, Rohatin, Zablotow, Sniatin, Kuti, Bwozhdetz, Rosolna, Staronia, Nadworna, Oishchi Zhilone, Kalush, Lisietz, Bohorodczani.

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The district command sent circulars and instructions to the branches and paid them frequent visits. The branch periodical was sent to all the district branches. A group of Tlumacz Betarim took part in a four–week military training course given in Tatarov by a group of Polish officers. Other branch members attended the training course in Nadworna. Friedka Haber was the first Betar girl in Tlumacz to make her aliya. Suzio Gutman and Pessia Gutstein managed to receive aliya certificates.

On the cultural side, special courses were given in Jewish history and literature. A special committee, set up by Henek Kaufman, Sommer and the Katz brothers, published a periodical which began as a wall newspaper and soon became the district organ. It was called Yediot, and carried articles and features contributed by all the district branches.

When Munio Wurman went to Lemberg to work with the Little Eastern Poland command, the leadership of the Tlumacz branch went to Fabek Reiter, then a member of the district command in Stanislawow. After Reiter left, Sommer took it over.

In 1938–39, when Jabotinsky's son Eri and Abraham Stawsky began organizing the illegal immigration movement, a group headed by Sommer was formed in Tlumacz for the purpose. The group included several non–Betar members.

The advent of the Soviet forces put an end to this activity. Julek Fischer tried to set up an undergroup cell, but the fear of the Jewish leftist informers and of the NKVD, as well as the arrest of 40 Betarim in Stanislawow, at a memorial assembly for Zeev Jabotinsky, frustrated the efforts of the Betar youth.

The last of the Betarim were massacred by the Germans with the others. A few managed to escape to Buczacz, where they joined the local group in resistance and self–defense.


“Kadima” – “Emuna”

by Munio Wurman

In the chapter on education the reader will find data about the Tlumacz graduates of universities, in Poland and abroad.

Bronek Mandel, leader of “Hashomer Hatzair” in 1922–23 and one of the founders of the “Emuna” association of academicians in Cracow, started an academician group in Tlumacz, while he was in town for the

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summer vacation. At that time he was already teaching in the Ukrainian high school in Rohatin.

The gathering, in August of 1927, was attended by more than 30 academicians. It was decided to establish an association of academicians to be named “Kadima”. The association was made up of General Zionists and Revisionists, who were still part of the joint district organization of the General Zionists. A. Gezelt was elected chairman of the association; he, Bernard Streit and Salat were the chairmen of the “Kadima” Executive. Several of the “Kadima” members were active in other Zionist organizations: Streit in the General Zionist Executive and the “Ahva” General Zionist youth club; Salat and Wurman were active in the Revisionist Party and Betar. Most of the “Kadima” members, however, became active only with the establishment of the association. Lectures delivered by “Kadima” members – Dr. Rosenkranz, Advocates Halpern and Mandel, Kaufman, Salat and Gezelt – broadened the ideological consciousness of the “Kadima” members. They took part in the fund campaigns and helped the sports club. Early in 1928 a convention of the academician groups in Little Eastern Poland was held in Stanislawow. In attendance were representatives of “Emuna” (Lemberg), “Hashmonai” (Lemberg), “Maccabi”, “Hatehiya”, Heatid”, Bar Kochbar, Giscala” (Gush Halav) from Stanislawow, and “Kadima” (Tlumacz), also from Prszemysl Strie, Tarnopol and Colomeia.

The factions came to the fore at the convention: the General Zionists, supporters of Dr. Leon Reich's national policy; they were in the minority. The second faction supported Greenbojm–Insler (Radical Zionists). The Revisionist faction had only eight members, headed by Bronek Mandel of Tlumacz; it also included Wurman and Hoffman.

Two years after the founding of “Kadima”, Bronek Mandel again set up and academician association called “Emuna”, with 30 members. “Eumna” was distinctly Revisionist, and its members took active part in the activities of the Party and its youth groups. Lusio Zank was chosen chairman of “Emuna”; together with Julek Mandel and Yulish Mahler, he formed the “Emuna” executive.

The association's importance lay in the fact that many high school graduates were thus drawn into the nationalist movement. Aside from the overall activities of the members in working with Revisionist youth, they also held courses in Zionism and Eretz Israel, they debated current Zionist issues, took part in elections, and worked for the national funds.


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Judenstaatpartei

by Munio Wurman

The “Judenstaatpartei” (Jewish State Party) was a small splinter from the Revisionist Party. On March 26, 1933 the World Council of the Party met in Katowicz. In opposition to the establishment of the New Zionist Organization, Meir Grossman withdrew from the Revisionist party, along with a small group, and set up a faction.

Immediately after the Council session, the faction began setting up branches in the towns. Its representative, Dr. Dunner, came from Lemberg to Tlumacz. After a debate which lasted several hours, he managed to persuade a small number of Revisionists to establish a branch of the faction in the town. This branch was headed by Shimon Katz and Gershon Karger. In the elections for the Zionist congress in 1935 they received no more than 14 votes; at the next election they had 19. The branch was unsuccessful in building itself up in Tlumacz.

At the same time, Shimon Katz founded a branch of “Brit Hakana'im” (a rival to Betar). This group, too, disintegrated with the advent of the Russians, and its fate under the Germans was the same as that of the others.


The Communist Jews

by Ephraim Schreier

The Communist Jews in Tlumacz did not function separately. They belonged to the KPZW. Only in the 1930's did the Yewsekzia operate for some time as the AJAP (Labor Party, Jewish General). Among the members of this undergroup group were Shimon Weiss, Yossel Yankel, and Bracha Lepold, Zalman David, Moshe–Luser Toisher, A. Jupiter and Rachel Mark, the daughter of Yidele Melamed, wo was well–known in the party and was imprisoned several times for long stretches. In the 1930's a youth group was organized. It was uncovered by informers and there were some arrests. During the last years before the outbreak of the Second World War, the group was augmented by young people who had once belonged to the Zionist parties, among them Heshio Katz (now in Stanislawow) and Lonek Wurman, formerly a member of “Hashomer Hatzair”, who made his way to Eretz Israel and was later deported to Poland by the British authorities.

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The Communist Jews had nothing to do with the labor organizations in tlumacz. It is said that Staislawow now has a museum (Iwana Frankowska) named for Rachel Mark, who was a long–time member of the District Council in Stanislawow.


The “Bund”

by Ephraim Schreier

The influence of the “Bund” was restricted to workmen's circles, particularly the old timers, and the fringe groups of the poor, but it had no representation on the Town Council.

In the early 1920' Shaya Jung was instrumental in in organizing a children's home, and a certified teacher was brought in from Wilno, but the experiment failed.

The “Bund” carried influence with the “Yad Harutzim” association of the artisans. It also was active in the market cooperative established after the First World War.

Shaya Jung had the following to say about the founding of the “Bund”:

“When I moved to Tlumacz in 1909, one of my first acquaintances in the town was Isaac the Melamed's assistant. His name was Assistant Srul. He first lived in Stanislawow. It seems that he had heard about my heading the strike of the assistants, organized by the Zh. P.S. He had also read my articles in the Social–Democrat against the “Moshkes” who were preaching Polandization. Srul was a fervent Socialist, and he campaigned among the youth on the need to organize. At that time another Stanislawow youth, the law student Meltzer, was also living in Tlumacz. He and “Long” Pinye (son of Hersh Brenner) initiated modest cultural programs in Yiddish. They set up a small lending library, subscribed to Yom–Tov Bletter of Y.L. Peretz, and organized lessons in Yiddish for the working youth. The group had a decided Socialist cast, and the employers looked at it askance and tried to impede it.

In 1912 the Austrian authorities ordered the club closed down. It was only in early 1917, a general Socialism spread and worker's associations were formed, that the “Bundist” group reorganized in tlumacz.

Among the “Bund” activists were Shaya Jung, Yankel Bibring, Ella Drucker, David Zelig Gleiss, and Meier Zeichner.


[Page XCII]

“Yad Harutzim”
(The Diligent Hand)

by Zvi Drapper

“Yad Harutzim” was the association of skilled craftsmen and artisans. It took in all the occupations, both the affluent, the breadwinners, and the marginal earners. The purpose of the association was to render mutual assistance, social action, and welfare for the needy. It also extended medical care and attendance to lonely patients, even during the night.

The association was often in financial straits, when it had no funds to cover its expenditures. To replenish its treasury it held events of all kinds: performances, parties, fund–raising campaigns, theater shows, entertainment evenings, and the like.

Some help was given to the association by townspeople who had immigrated to both Americas.

Special mention should be made of Dr. Ida Feuerman. In return for a token salary paid by the association, she devoted herself to the health and welfare of the members, even supplying them with medicines without charge.

Among the founders of the association were Y. Bibring, Zalman Spund, Meir Zeichner, David Zelig Gleiss, Y.Y Drapper and Shaya Jung.

In the 1930's, a branch of “Haoved”, an organization of Zionist craftsmen, was founded in Tlumacz, headed by Motl Gutman.


Drama Circles

by Ephraim Schreier

Our town had a Drama Circle already before the First World War. It was headed by Itzi Epstein. Among its performances was “Shulamit”, and the tunes of the operetta were sung by our young women for many years. Itzi Epstein was one of the first Zionists in the town and an intellectual. He and his brother Binya devoted much time to cultural activities. As did the other Galician towns, after the war, Tlumacz experienced a marked surge toward social and cultural manifestations: libraries, study groups, choruses and drama circles.

The first drama circle after the war was founded in the early 1920's, and

[Page XCIII]

It drew quite a few young people from the study and work contingents. The organizers themselves, few in number, dedicated themselves to it so completely that it made much progress.

The performances were held in “Tombe Halle”. The first plays to be staged were “The Dibbyk”, “Kreizer Sonata”, “Handshake”, “God, Man and the Devil”, “The Villager”. The performances were well prepared and enjoyed public favor. In due course, as the young people moved on to professions and occupations, the circle weakened and finally disbanded. Among the members of the Drama Circle were Bunio Korn, Hersh Korn, Bella Haber, Haberman, Bondzhiak Lev, Motl Seifer, Leibele Stein, Max Wieder, the Baders, Yankel Riesel, and Yehiel Mintzer. In the ensuing years, individuals and organizations tried to revive the circle. Bernard Dicker and Dudya Kreindler did a lot of work. Dicker staged A. Weiter's “The Mute”; the actors were Hersh Schreier. The play was given in “Sokol” hall. Dudka Bader organized circles in Gordonia, and these gave many performances. For a time the “Yad Haruzim” organization had a circle of its own, headed by Y. Bibring. During the Russian occupation in 1940 – 42, the district cultural department had a network of drama circles, in Yiddish as well. In the district circle wer Luser Toisher, Clara Held, Y. Bibring, and others. Ephraim Schreier staged “Hassia the Orphan”.

The Tlumacz community loved theater. They made up the bulk of the audiences, and if they didn't like the Ukrainian theater, the itinerant troupes of Stadniuk and Kohutiak, which sometimes put on plays of Jewish content. On the other hand, our Jews rarely attended the Polish theater, either the local or the Moniushka Theater in Stanislawow, headed by Luzhinska. Many guest appearances were staged in Tlumacz by the Goldfaden Theater of Stanislawow. Among their successful performances was “A Night in the Old Market Place” and “The Golem”. Horaze Safrin, the author and translator, played the leading roles. The An–ski Theater also appeared in our town.

Professional Jewish theater troupes also visited Tlumacz: Jonas Turkow, Diana Blumenfeld, Ida Kaminska, Melman, the Dembs, Buzhik and his troupe, Zaslavski, Alex Stein. There were cases of the young people who were so enamored with the theater that they used to go on foot, either as sport or because of poverty, to see a good play in Stanislawow.


[Page XCIV]

The “Hashmonaim” Sports Club

by Ephraim Schreier

The “Hasmonaim” Sports Club was founded several years after the First World War. The Club drew many young people from all strata of the populace, workers as well as students. The Club offered entertainment and recreation, as well as sports. In the evenings, the young people played chess, checkers and table-tennis. The sports were divided into sections: boxing, swimming, field and track, calisthenics. The largest was soccer; there were several soccer teams and many outstanding players. Practice games, friendly meets and regular competition games were held with other clubs, Polish and Ukrainian, in town and with groups from other localities – Stanislawow, Monastricz, Otinia. The Club headquarters were in “Tombe Halle”. The playing field was outside the town, on the “Stawiska”.

The club was open to youngsters of all ages, starting with school children, and only male members were admitted.

Among the founders and activists of the Club were Mendele Feier, Buzio Gottesman (now in America, a famous stamp collector), Hersh Korntreger, Shlomo and Berl Streit, Shlomo ritzer, Itzi Lepold, Hersh Ziller, Michael Dreilinger and Munio Korntreger. Mendele Feier was the referee for local games.


The Political Leaders in Tlumacz

by Ephraim Schreier

 

Dr. Mauricy Rosenkranz

An attorney by profession, Dr. Mauricy Rosenkranz lived in Germany for several years after the war, before settling in Tlumacz. In his student days he was active in Zionist circles and attended several Zionist Congresses as an alternate. In Tlumacz he was a leader of the General Zionists, and served many years as a representative on the Municipal Council and the Community Council.

 

Dr. Max Halpern

Dr. Max Halpern, partner and close friend of Dr. Rosenkranz, was of a more impulsive nature. Clever, adept at political and organizational work,

[Page XCV]

he was extremely resourceful in his thinking and was a brilliant orator, although more superficial than his partner.

Dr. Halpern, too, was active in student circles in his native Stanislawow, and like Dr. Rosenkranz, was a leader of the General Zionists. In time he moved to Otinia and set up his practice in that town.

 

Haim Lam and Moshkovicz

Haim Lam came to Tlumacz from Jaroslaw. He quickly became active in the Mizrachi movement and moved up to leadership in the party. He was thoroughly progressive, however, and was capable of working with all factions. He was tolerant toward the secularists, even those of the extreme left.

Moshkovicz worked in the Mizrachi Party along with Haim Lam. He, too, came to Tlumacz from elsewhere. His dignified bearing gained him public respect, but he passed away in the prime of his life.

Haim Lam spent his last years working for his party's headquarters in Lemberg. When the Soviets invaded the area he returned to Tlumacz.

 

Wolf Shpund

When the Unity Party was established, on of the Tlumacz men it activated was Wolf Shpund, a man with a simple background and the orwner of an iron tools store. Clever and sharp-witted, he assailed his opponents with withering tongue. He represented his party on the outside rather than working in its internal structure. For many years he served as his party's chairman.

 

Yosie Sommer

Yosie Sommer was one of the founders of the Revisionist Party in Tlumacz and its most outstanding figure in the town. He was known for his integrity. His fervent ideology caused him to devote much time to his organization, although his family was only in fair circumstances. He was an autodidact, and all his life he strove to achieve something. He put himself through a technical school in Düsselfdorf (Germany) by a correspondence course.

Sommer did not represent his party nor was he an orator to further its cause. He was just a hard worker in the ranks.

[Page XCVI]

Shaiya Jung

The name of Shaiya Jung is firmly bound up with the local branch of the “Bund”, whe he headed. Born in Zevlatow, he was a tinsmith, a man of the people. Some of us still recall him as he walked to the synagogue, wearing a shtreiml. Before the “Bund” was formed, Shaiya belonged to the Jewish Labor Party.

He was a natural labor party worker, with a keen sense for social problems, devoted to his ideology and his movement, and a popular speaker; he excelled on the rostrum as he did in organizational work.

During the war he and his family went to Soviet Russia. Later he returned to Poland and thence went to Israel, where he lived with his daughter until his death at the age of 89.

 

Eliyahu Redner and Menahem Krum

Mention of the Poale Zion Left Party brings to mind the names of Eliyahu Redner and Menahem (Mendzi) Krum. Both were active in the party and the community in the same period. Both belonged to prosperous families. Both had talent for organization and political acumen, and both were fine speakers.

Krum was the more moderate, considerate in his actions, perhaps even of wider knowledge. Redner, on the other hand, was the impassioned revolutionary type, aggressive in speech and action, but he was liked by the masses.

Redner went to Palestine in the mid-1920's but returned to Tlumacz a few years later. Krum was a member of the Central Council of the Poale Zion movement in Poland. Both were regarded as the pivotal men of their party in the town. During the German occupation, Redner was appointed to represent the “Jewish society”. When he and Moshe Mendl Bildner were told to prepare a list of Jews for expulsion, they replied that their names would have to appear on the list, as well. And that is how it was.

 

Yossel Korn – Munio Wurman

The first “Hashomer Hatzair” group founded in Tlumacz didn't last long. Personal and organizational factors caused it to fall apart. Several years later it was revived, as two men took over its leadership: Yossel Korn and Munio Worman. They were students together and friends. Both

[Page XCVII]

Were expelled from the academy because of their activities in the organization; they were particularly active in the educational work of the Tlumacz branch.

Korn, though a young man, had the talent for working with an independent youth group, over which he exercised considerable influence. Well-versed in literature, he was a romantic philosopher by nature, and knew how to state his ideas well and impressively.

Worman was a good organizer. He gave particular attention to physical training, scouting and hikes. In the “Hashomer Hatzair” movement he was nicknamed “Jabotinchik”, and indeed, he later joined the Betar movement and became one of its leaders, in time attaining membership on the Central Board of Betar in Galicia. He now lives in Israel.

 

Shmuel Mautner

A follower of the pioneer ideal from his young days, shmuel Mautner was a thinking and knowledgeable man. His ideological contiemplations led him to move from one party to another, from “Hechalutz” to “Hashomer Hatzair” and finally to “Poale Zion Left”.

Mautner was familiar with poverty. His father died when Shmuel was an infant, and his mother had to bear the brunt of earning a livelihood. He went to a training farm and later learned carpentry. In the early 1930's he went to Palestine and settled in Kibbutz Mazra. He died at an early age, leaving two daughters.

 

Meir Zeifer

Meir Zeifer was one of the young men who went from Tlumacz to Palestine in the early 1920's. Another member of the group was Frieda Kantzelfuld, whom he later married.

Zeifer came from a family of Zionist intellectuals. His father, Abba, was one of the first organizers of the Zionist movement in Tlumacz.

In Palestine, Meir Zeifer was active on behalf of Jewish labor. He was among the first workers on the railroad and contributed to the advancement of his group. He has long been retired.

 

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