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The Trade and Industry Organization {Cont.}


[Page 241]


The Merchant and Industrial Association of Sosnowiec assumed a very important position in the Jewish economic sector of Poland. The association owed its great development to a few dedicated people, notably the deceased chairman, Henryk Kwiatek. (who headed the organization from the inception in 1925 to his untimely death in 1933), to the late honorary chairman Mauricy Rajner, and to the present chairman Josef Saper,who was elected to the post in 1934.

The membership consisted of middle merchants, wholesale dealers and industrialists. A management team, a review committee and an audit section headed the association. All officers were elected by the general assembly on May 14th 1938. They were: Josef Saper (chairman), Julian Kaback and Adolf Landau (vice-chairmen), Markus Birman (secretary), Ignacy Majtlis (treasurer), Pawel Skszinia (administrator), Wladislaw Feldman, Mauricy Rajcher, Yehiel Tobiasz, and Henry Zinger. These were the members of the management team. During the period, Mendel Lubelski, member of this team, passed away. The following members were elected to be reserve members in case of need; Wolf Behm, Kalman Fiszel, Mieczislaw Jakubowicz, Fiszel Klepfisz and Jakub Wulkan. The review and audit committees consisted of Alexander Gutman, Shalom Lajzerowicz, Feiwel Ostri, Ignacy Rajner, and engineer Szymon Sztarke-Nachner.



The Representatation of the Association
and the Chamber of Commerce and Industry

The association was automatically entitled to one member at the Chamber of Commerce and Industry. The delegate was Julian Kabak, who retained the seat for two terms. He was the vice-chairman of the association. The next delegate was Henryk Kwiatek, who was elected by the general assembly of the association. Josef Saper was co-opted to the chamber, and Berisz Tencer was elected in by-elections. The second term membership at the chamber was Julian Kabak and Josef Saper, elected by the members of the association and vice chairman of the office of the chamber. Markus Birman, co-opted membe, was the manager of the chamber office and Salo Wulfson nominated as a reserve member of the chamber.

The cooperation between the association and the chamber was very good. The latter had to defend the economic demands of the association as well as the ones of the Jewish merchants. The demands represented all areas of economic activity, such as administrative rules, commercial rights, taxes, credit rules and communications – in short, all problems that affected the economic life. For many years, the association also devoted itself to these economic problems and to the defense of the interests of the Jewish merchant in general. The association always took an independent position in economic matters; still it acted in conjunction with the central office of the Jewish merchant association in Warsaw and the central council of Jewish businessmen. The president of the latter bureau was Josef Saper, who was a founding member of the office and acted very effectively as the secretary manager of the bureau.



The commercial education

The moral obligation for the continual existence of the Jewish merchant as an element of society forced the Jewish economic organizations to undertake the necessary steps to develop the Jewish commercial education. These steps were needed to ensure the future high level of Jewish commerce as well as an ample supply of highly trained commercial students that were not forthcoming from the governmental schools. The latter adopted various steps to prevent Jewish youth from attending these schools. Some schools insisted that every student must attend each school day or fail qualifications that affected Jewish students that observed the Sabbath or Jewish holidays.

The Jewish economic organizations therefore undertook the task of developing a system of commercial education. They pioneered the Jewish commercial school education in Poland. The association established in 1937 a co-educational commercial one-year high school. The association also took the necessary steps to obtain the required licenses to open a commercial high school that was badly needed in Zaglembia and Upper Silesia. The permits were granted in 1938 for the school year 1938/1939. Sosnowiec received permission to open a commercial high school on condition that an appropriate school building be built. The association that undertook the great school task accepted the challenge. It believed that other elements in Zaglembia and Upper Silesia would also help the project. The hope was fulfilled. A committee was immediately formed to collect money that enabled to the land to be purchased and the school to be built.


[Page 242]


The members of the committee were: Markus Birman, Wolf Behm, Henryk Diezenhaus, Kalman Fiszel, Wladislaw Feldman, Pinhas Grandapel, Alexander Gutman, Dr. Julian Hercman, Dentist Artur Ingster, Mieczislaw Jakubowicz, Aszer Klajnberg, Fiszel Klepfisz, Adolf Landau, Szulem Lajzerowicz, Mendel Lubelski, Josephine Mamlok, Dawid Marianka, Ignacy Majtlis, Feiwel Ostri, Mauricy Rajcher, Ignacy Rajner, Josef Saper, Leibisz Zendel, Pawel Skszinia, Regine Szpigel, Engineer Szymon Sztarke-Nachner, Yehiel Tobiasz, Henryk Zinger and Aron Zinger.

The Retail and Small Merchant Association of Sosnowiec, the Jewish Merchant Association of Katowice, and many celebrities in the area joined the association in the building of the commercial high school.

The execution of the plans for the building were entrusted to a special building committee that consisted of Josef Saper (chairman), Henryk Zinger (vice-chairman), Engineer Szymon Sztarke-Nachner (treasurer), Engineer Max Lipszyc (secretary), Engineer Boleslaw Donat-Szlajfsztajn (technical manager), Markus Birman and Pawel Skszinia.

Thanks to the efforts of the committee, commercial school opened its doors for the school year 1938/1939.


Sos242.jpg [26 KB] - Building committee of the commercial high school
The building committee that build the commercial high school
in Sosnowiec in 1938
First row from right: Henryk Zinger (vice-chairman), Engineer Szymon Sztarke-Nachner (treasurer),
Josef Saper (chairman), Engineer Max Lipszyc (secretary), Engineer Boleslaw Donato-Szlajfsztajn (technical manager).
Second row from right, Markus Birman and Pawel Skszinia.


[Page 243]


The commercial high school was located on Skaldowa Street number 3A. Due to the large registration, the building committee decided to implement expansion plans. The importance of the creation of such a school must underline the willingness of the association to undertake such a large project and to carry it to its completion. This was quite an accomplishment for the association of merchants and industrialists.




The Retail and Small Merchant Association


The first meeting of the retail and small merchant association of Sosnowiec took place on January 5th 1927. Twelve people took part in the meeting. Today the association has over 600 paid up members and is very active in assisting the small merchant in general and the Jewish grocer in particular. The organization has a secretariat that is constantly visited by members that seek help. A staff of clerks provides the assistance. The association is represented in various economic and social organizations, notably at city hall, at the Jewish community office, at the chamber of commerce and industry, at the appeal committee and so on. The association has a well-organized medical benefit program and a legal help office for the members.

Within the association, there are several specialized branch sections that deal with specific problems in the field and cope with these situations. The local office is in steady contact with the headquarters of the association through the delegates that attend the local, regional and countrywide conferences. The local branch is very active in the social life of the community, especially in the economic sector. The association is very active in helping the development of the commercial school system in conjunction with the merchant and industrial association. Both associations worked closely to create the commercial one-year high school and the evening commercial classes. These organizations fulfilled an important task by providing commercial schooling to the Jewish youth.

The management of the retail and small merchant association consisted in 1938 of the following people; Herman Oliner (chairman), A. D. Kajzer (vice-chairman), B. D. Dudkiewicz (vice-chairman), Ch. Donski (treasurer), S. Kimelman, S. Honigman, P. Federman, A. Ojazd, Ch. Rabinowicz, S. Gemeiner, and H. Gleitman.The review commission consisted of J. Man, Hillel Altman, and Bernard Jakub.

Sos243.jpg [15 KB] - Herman Oliner
Herman Oliner
Chairman of the retail and small merchant association,
member of the city council of Sosnowiec and member
of the chamber of commerce. Member of the executive
of the retail and small merchant association of Poland,
member of the municipal mutual fund, member of the
municipal communal fund, reserve corporal in the
Polish Army and disabled war veteran.


[Page 244]


Sos244.jpg [20 KB] - Management committee of the retail and small merchant association
Management committee of the retail and small merchant
association of Sosnowiec. January 9th, 1938
First row from right, seated, S. Kimelman, A. D. Kajzer (vice-chairman),
Herman Oliner (chairman), A. Ojazd, Ch. Donski (treasurer).

Second row from right, standing, Ch. Szelonka, A. Harmacz (clerks),
H. Gleitman, S. Honigman (manager), Ch. Rabinowicz,
and eng. Z. Mangel (bureau manager).

Third row, P. Federman (honory secretary), A. Wajs (clerk),
S. Gemeiner, J. Man (chairman of the review commission).


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