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[Page 100]

Academic Socialist Zionist Society – Z.A.S.S.

Translated by Susan Rosin

The influence of the labor movement and the workers' organization (Histadrut) in Eretz Israel increased in the 30th among the studying youth in the diaspora. Many of the more socialist and the liberal leaning students did not feel they fit into the general Zionist and revisionist societies. They saw themselves closer to the labor movement and identified with the ideology of the Poalei Eretz Israel party.

That was the background for the founding for an academic socialist Zionist Society within the framework of the “Hitahdut” party. In 1931 the Z.A.S.S was established in Stryj by Dr. Azriel Eisenstein, Dr. Ada Bar-Lev (Klein), and Dr. Moshe Bar-Lev-Reinhartz.

The active members of the society were: Dr. Azriel Eisenstein, Dr. Ada Bar-Lev (in Israel), Dr. Moshe Bar-Lev (in Israel), Klara Zeidman, Henek Mager, Zvi Wohlmut (in Israel), Loncia Wolf-Rotfeld (in Israel), Moshe Hauptmann (in Israel), Liora Meltzer-Hauptmann (in Israel), Anda Buchman, Jacob Rosler, Mundek Pritzhand, Milek Weisbart (in Israel), Salka Wohlmann, Ruzka Neimann (in Israel), Belka Fogel, Regina Goldman, Rosenzweig, and Mania Polack-Tadanir (in Israel).

 

Friends of the Hebrew University Society

The local institutions of the Jewish national spiritual revival included the Friends of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem Society. Dr. Lechman from the Hebrew university participated in the opening ceremonies of the society.

The society was headed by Dr. Z. Presser, Dr. Shitzer and Zvi Wohlmut. It should be noted that Stryj was the first provincial city in Galicia to establish such a society and its activities were very successful.

 

Toynbee Hall

A branch of the Education Movement that spread culture and knowledge in lecture halls known as “Toynbee Hall” was active in our town and was located in the Zionist Casino. It served as a center for the dissemination of national education, Zionist theory, Jewish and Eretz Israel knowledge. Training courses also took place at the same location.

Dr. Byk was the founder of “Toynbee Hall” and the first president of the national council in 1918.

 

The Amateur Theatre

The cultural revival of the Hebrew and Yiddish languages reached its peak at the beginning of the twentieth century. Yiddish playwrights were very popular. Dramatic groups of young men and women, lovers of the Yiddish Theatre, were set up in every large and small town in Poland and Russia.

The dramatic group in Stryj was founded in 1907 by Aaron Hauptmann, the son of rabbi Isaac (Shohet) Hauptmann who was also the producer of the plays that were staged by the original group. The amateur actors were: Mordechai Wagner, Adler, Eliyahu Hauptmann, Shimon Eckstein (in Belgium), Hannah Leibowitz, Etka Wagner, Salka Sperling, Chippe Wundermann, Salek Waldman-Schwalb, Haya Behr (Tennenblatt). The stage design artist was Berl (Dov) Stern and the stage prompter was Moshe Katz.

The program was based almost exclusively on plays by Jacob Gordin: “Got, Mentsh un Tayvl” (God, Man, and Devil), “Khasye di yetoyme” (Khasye the orphan) and others.

The First World War interrupted the circle's activities, which were renewed in 1917 when new members joined: Miriam (Mania) Hauptmann-Bertshnider (in Israel), Salka Leibowitz, Rachel Altshuler, Tinka Rosenkranz (Monderer), Mania Igra (in Israel), Monderer, Seidenfrau, Buszko Apfelgreen, Dr. Meller (in Israel), Dr. Liebsman, Dr. Singer. The producers were Professor Max Bienenstock and his wife.


[Page 101]

Beit Ha'am

Translated by Susan Rosin

Beit Ha'am (Community Center; literally translated: People's Home) was set-up in 1930. During the founding meeting, Dr. Presser discussed the report prepared by the committee and the rules and regulations of the Beit Ha'am society. Members of the first committee were: Tzeler, Apfelgreen, Diamant, the pharmacist Kindler, Dr. Kohn, Kreisberg, Klueger, Haim Meyersohn, M. Spiegel, S. Stern, Weinreb, and Wohlmut.

The philanthropist Adolf Auerbach donated a plot of land on the corner of Slowacki and Czernicki streets to the society and it was decided to house the offices of the Kehila, the merchants union and the library and reading hall in this building.


The Orphanage

Translated by Susan Rosin

One of the aid and charitable institutions which Stryj Jewry established was the handsome Orphanage. The beginning of this undertaking was a Beit Machse (Home) for poor Jewish students that came from the small surrounding towns and villages to attend the high schools in Stryj. A committee headed by Dr. Philip Fruchtmann (he was one of the most influential personalities in that period and a delegate to the Austrian parliament) was established for this purpose in 1908. The building project was started in 1910 and was completed in 1913 and was financed by donations and housed 30 students.

In 1917, the building was turned into an orphanage and was headed by Dr. Rappaport, Professor Spaet, and Zalman Steiner. In the first few years following the war and until 1923, the home was supported by the Joint. The Stryj Jewish community had to assume the responsibility for the orphans.

Dr. Fichner, one of the founders of the orphanage, a philanthropist whose efforts were channeled to the orphanage passed away in 1929. Following his death a new committee was elected with Professor Resport as the chair person.

The orphanage was moved to a new, more spacious building which was the pride of Stryj's Jewry. Following Professor Resport's tenure, the orphanage was headed by the teacher Tauber, his deputy Mondschein and the secretary A. Lautman.

Due to the difficult economic conditions of Stryj's Jews, the donations to the orphanage dwindled, and the city hall allowance was cut by 50%. However, the Kehila still paid the committed amount. Due to the dedication of the staff, working under very difficult conditions, there was no deficit. Dr. Rappaport and Mr. Weissglass were the heads of this institution during the last years of its existence. 80% of the budget was spent on clothing, food and tuition for those children enrolled in the high schools. The remaining 20% were used to pay the mortgage on the building.


The Jewish Hospital

Translated by Susan Rosin

Across the street from the Great Synagogue on the south side of the square was a rectangular one story building surrounded by a garden that housed the Jewish hospital. Near the entrance were two rooms -one for the physician and one for the management. Along the hallway were the patients' rooms.

This institution symbolized the brotherly love, mutual assistance and mercy feelings of Stryj's Jewry.

The hospital was one of the more important social institutions of the community, helping those Jews who required public health assistance.

The Hospital began as a “Hekdesh” a poor house that was used as a shelter for poor travelers, the homeless and used for hospitalization for those without means. The “Hekdesh” was going through a difficult period at the end of the 19th century and was about to shut-down.

Only very few Jews went to the municipal hospital. Therefore Moshe Stern, the vice-Mayor, Michael Auerbach, Joseph Horowitz, Isaac Sheinfeld, and Dov Pollack appealed to the city to receive a budget equal to the expense for a Jewish patient if accepted at the municipal hospital. Their efforts were successful to strengthen the hospital. The Kehila paid for Jewish patients from outside of Stryj. A council was established to strengthen and remodel the hospital. The members were: Rabbi Haim Mayersohn, rabbi Isaac Hauptmann (the slaughterer), Isaac Sheinfeld, Moshe Zechariah Goldberg. The first physicians who worked at the hospital until 1911 without pay were, Dr. Kiczales and Dr. Lippel.

During the First World War and a few years after, a period of political and social crises and unrest, revolutions and changing authorities, the hospital was closed.

The hospital reopened in 1921. The Jewish population

[Page 102]

preferred to maintain their own hospital with donations although it was not as well equipped as the government hospital due to the anti-Semitism there. A clinic was always opened next to the hospital staffed by volunteer Jewish doctors who treated the poor. We should mention the doctors who worked there: Dr. Brauner, Dr. Lucia Bienenstock, Dr. Koenig, Dr. Schleiffer, Dr. Shnitzer, Dr. Malka Leibowitz and Dr. Ada Klein. Eliyahu Waldman was the hospital's secretary from 1929 until its liquidation during the holocaust.

“Yad Harutzim”, the craftsmen union contributed an ambulance in 1938. In the last few years before the holocaust, the hospital capacity increased to 60 beds and was instrumental in providing healthcare to Stryj's Jewry. A major improvement in 1939 added a well-equipped delivery room donated by Dr. Brauner in memory of his father rabbi David Brauner.

A class of 25 female nurses and 3 male nurses graduated a month before the start of the war. The ceremony was attended by government representatives, the mayor, the Kehila representative and the hospital's leadership of Dr. Schiff and B. Diamant.

The growing anti-Semitic sentiments before the war caused Jewish populations everywhere to try and develop their own institutions to the extent it was allowed by the authorities.

The hospital, which served loyally the Stryj community, was destroyed in the Shoah. Some of the doctors committed suicide by swallowing cyanide during the last aktion, thus breathing their last breath in purity.


TOZ
(The Jewish Health Organization)

Translated by Susan Rosin

In addition to the efforts by the Jewish hospital in the field of public health, the local branch of the Jewish Health Society “TOZ” made a major contribution, especially concentrating on the health of Jewish children and their proper nutrition. They organized camps out of town. In 1937, 94 children attended the TOZ camps. The active figures of TOZ were Dr. Malka Leibowitz and Dr. Begleiter who visited the camps without receiving any pay.


The Jewish Vocational School

Translated by Susan Rosin

In 1919 the Joint founded a workshop for Jewish youth. The purpose was to train Jewish youth as craftsmen and tradesmen who can support themselves and their families and to prepare them as halutzim – immigrating to Eretz Israel.

When the school opened there were four departments: carpentry, ironwork, lathework and mechanics with up-to-date machines donated by the Joint Distribution committee. Three years later, a dormitory was opened for students from the outlying small towns and villages. The first principal of the school was Dr. M. Kaufman.

In 1922, Mr. Leib Horowitz donated two houses for the school in the name of the Horowitz family. In 1926, the school became accredited by the education ministry of the Polish government as a vocational school.

After the official accreditation, a committee was elected headed by Dr. Schindler and Dr. Schiff.

In 1927, only two departments were operational – ironwork and lathework and the number of students was 32. The income for school operations came from selling the products and aid from Jewish help organizations. JDC budgeted 5,700 zloty, the city 1,000 zloty, the Kehila 800 zloty and Dr. Schindler donated 1,500 zloty from his own money. The property of the school was estimated at 120,000 zloty.

The curriculum was both theoretical and practical. The tuition was 30 – 60 zloty per month. The dormitory housed 20 students. The Joint provided two state-of-the-art machines that were estimated at $1,500. A new committee was elected with: Dr. Schindler – chair, Dr. M. Kaufman, Sommerfeld, A. Levin, Shimshon Steiner, Dr. Hausmann and B. Diamant.

The graduates of the first class passed the government exams in Lvov and found employment. The employers praised their knowledge and professionalism. The yearly JDC report stated that the school operated successfully.

In 1931 at the school committee meeting, Dr. Schindler and Mr. Schwargold reported on the school status. It was estimated that the cost per student was 650 zloty per year. All students passed successfully the government exams and all budgetary commitments were received.

[Page 103]

The school went through a tremendous growth as shown by the 1939 report. The number of students grew to 85. New machines and instruments were added. The school employed 13 full time teachers and 4 foremen under the supervision of the engineer Neustein. The head of the school support society continued to be Dr. Schindler.

Throughout its existence the school trained hundreds of students and many of them immigrated to Eretz Israel to join the builders of the homeland.

With the destruction of Jewish Stryj came also an end to this institution that symbolized the dreams of parents to bring-up their children to be productive members of society.


The Soup Kitchen

Translated by Susan Rosin

As another expression of the Jewish compassion and concern for the poor, a teahouse was opened at the end of the 19th century to help the Jewish (and also non-Jewish) peddlers during the cold days of winter. For one “kreutzer”, they could get a cup of hot tea and a large roll. For a long time, the teahouse was housed in rabbi Rafael Wynn's home and was supported by the Kehila and the city. The teahouse was opened from the beginning of fall until Pesach. This meagre meal helped many families who might have suffered starvation otherwise. The teahouse was the initiative of the charitable Mrs. Mahla Katz and rabbi Hirsch Etinger, the son of rabbi Isaac Etinger from Lvov.

In 1932, after years that the teahouse was not in operation, a soup kitchen was opened to meet the new and growing demands. The numbers of Jews who needed public relief due to the financial crisis/depression grew. As a result, the Jewish representatives demanded that the city assist in opening a kosher soup kitchen for the city's poor and the unemployed. At the beginning, the soup kitchen provided 200 meals every day.

Due to the increasing unemployment, the number of meals was increased to 250 per day. Both the city and the Kehila increased their contributions to meet the increaseing needs. The head of the soup kitchen committee, Professor Seinfeld, worked tirelessly to continue and maintain this important institution.


Ezrat Nashim
(Women's help organization)

Translated by Susan Rosin

This organization was founded in the 1880th. The charitable and the kind-hearts of the Jewish women in Stryj found expression in this society whose mission was to pay rents for 6 months for the needy, so that the landlords could pay the mortgages. This assistance was needed in Stryj more than in other towns because many houses were built after the great fire of 1886.

The organization provided medical services for the sick, and sometimes sent them to convalescent centers. Aid was given in secret so as not to affect the credit status of those who were helped. Members took turns in spending the night in the homes of the sick taking care of them. They also paid for doctor visits.

The organization was funded by member donations and budgeted allocations from the city and the Kehila.

The head of the organization for many years was the wife of rabbi Levi Ish-Hurwitz. Malka, the wife of Moshe Goldberg served after her. Other active members were: Chayczi, the daughter of the religious judge rabbi Yeshaia Jacob, Mira'le, the wife of the religious judge rabbi Abraham, Sobele, wife of the religious judge rabbi Karnele Shenbach, Sarah Hammer, the daughter of rabbi Vavi of Bo³szowce, Sarah Schiff, Mahla Katz and Mahla Hurwitz. Many other women from Stryj also participated in this charitable organization. The major duty of the members was spending the night with the sick and taking care of them.

The incidence of disease in the Stryj-Sambor district was very high due to the muddy and turbid ground water. The sanitation conditions were poor due to the crowding, even for the more affluent. Infectious diseases were rampant. Not too many nurses were available and the Jewish hospital took care of the most needy only. Therefore the organization had a tremendous impact on saving lives. The members gained much experience in treating various diseases

[Page 104]

and were trusted and respected by the Jewish doctors (Dr. Meisels, Dr. Pachenick, Dr. Lip, and Dr. Shechter). Mrs. Mahla Hurwitz, a righteous woman, who was dedicated to caring for the needy donated a house on Potocki street for a public purpose.


Kreuzer Verein Society

Translated by Susan Rosin

The “Kreuzer Verein” society was named so because of the weekly two Kreuzer donation by each member. The main purpose of the society was to assist women who gave birth by providing diapers, sheets, etc., together with three gulden.

The more affluent families were not receiving this assistance, but instead helped with donations on the occasion of childbirth.

Active members included: Helena Rosenman, Rachel Katz, the wife of the lawyer Dr. Byk, and the wife of the lawyer Dr. Norbert Schiff as well as those who were active in “Ezrat Nashim”.


The “Gemilut Hesed” (Benevolence) Fund

Translated by Susan Rosin

The “Gemilut Hesed Fund Charitable institution” was founded in 1927, an institution that is well rooted in the Jewish morality and tradition. The institution was a very important factor in easing the financial difficulties of the needy in every community.

In our town, the fund stood on 18,000 gulden (zloty), with part of it contributed by the Joint. In the first year of operation, 600 interest free loans were provided in sums ranging from 50 to 150 guldens. These loans were instrumental in helping the small merchants, craftsmen and artisans in their struggle to survive.

Under the management of M.A. Wohlmut, the fund grew to 33,000 zloty in 1928 with 80% of the loans paid-back on time.

A new committee was elected in 1929 with Dr. B. Milbauer as chair. The annual report of 1931-1932 showed the major impact of the fund in town. Some of the loans were considered a loss because the borrowers were unable to pay them back even in small installments. The society tried to collect, but without imposing additional financial burden on the borrowers.

Due to the economic crisis of 1933 that impacted mostly the lower strata, a fundraising week was announced to help those in need. People and institutions participated and donated generously: The Kehila, the rabbinate, the Zionist parties, Agudat Israel, the craftsmen society, Yad harutzim, the merchants' society, the civil club, and the Jewish economic society.

The pamphlet in Yiddish, Hebrew and Polish that was published on the 10th anniversary, described the importance of the society in helping those whose economic positions were endangered by the growing anti-Semitic forces. The final years were very difficult economically and the public was called to support the efforts of the fund that was managed by rabbi Moshe Kudisch until the holocaust.


Yad Harutzim Society

Translated by Susan Rosin

Literally translated – “Diligent Hand” Society started in a small minyan (prayer quorum) of artisans in 1908. Davidman, an apartment ovens builder (a special profession due to the Polish climate) was the first head. He was followed by the house-painter I. Klieger. In the course of time the minyan became a vocational society of artisans called “Yad Harutzim”.

Abraham Levin, an active member was elected chairman in 1920 with I. Klieger as the vice-chairman. The organization had many branches in Galician towns.

 

str104a.jpg
Leaders of Hashomer Hatzair groups

 

str104b.jpg
Standing from right to left: Gertler, M. Fishbein, Horshowska, M. Opper, Marzand, Tzila Haas, Joseph Haas, A. Lustig, Hana Fruchter, S. Rosenberg, H. Rappoprt.
Seated from right to left: Wexler, D. Kammerman, Zlata Borer, A. Hauptmann, Hella Borer, S. Rosler, Ruth Rosenberg.
Seated in front row: Rosenberg, L. Lipman, M. Polack, I. Opper.

 

str104c.jpg
Activists of Poalei Zion 1919

 

[Page 105]

Ideologically the society members were close to the national Zionist camp. Socially, the members belonged to the working class and were a “trade union” looking out for the economic interests of the members.

Under Abraham Levin, the society grew to 200 members and many of its members belonged to the Zionist parties and were active in the society as emissaries of the popular Zionist organizations.

In 1931, the society split due to differences of opinions regarding the elections to the Polish Sejm (Parliament). The members who left established a new society called “Ihud Baalei Melacha” (Craftsmen Union). A new assembly hall was dedicated during the opening ceremony and the chairman A. Levin announced that the union will cooperate with the national groups. Moshe Weiss was elected secretary and acted in that capacity until his immigration to Eretz Israel in 1934. Shlomo Schwartz was the vice-chairman.

The union members followed a tradition of helping sick members. Taking turns, the members fulfilled the mitzvah of visiting the sick and spending the night in their homes.

Rabbi Meir Garlenter, the father-in-law of the rabbi of Glogow taught the members the weekly parasha (portion of the Torah), and chapters of the Mishnah. During the high-holidays he led the services. The children of the union members were gathering in the evenings in the union rooms to study Torah.


The “Oseh Tov” Merchants Society

Translated by Susan Rosin

The “Oseh Tov” (“Doing Good”) society played an important part in Stryj. The members were the large and mid-size merchants, importers, exporters, wholesalers, owners of warehouses and stores. The main goals of the society were mutual assistance, preserving the position of merchants in town and protecting them from discrimination in taxation and the effects of the growing anti-Semitism in Poland.

The society was established after World War I. A few years after the establishment of the Polish state, the authorities started to increase the taxation on the Jewish merchants to undermine their economic positions. Among the most active members were: Kinder, Eli Hauptmann, Moshe Spiegel, Dr. Schiff, D. Reich, and Benjamin Klein. The 62nd meeting of the society was held in 1939 and it was the last meeting of “Oseh Tov”. There was also a minyan called “Oseh Tov” where the members attended services. Of note was also the lending facility called Kasa Zaliczkowa established with a grant from IKA. The fund was managed by Dr. Weisenberg and the assimilators and was almost bankrupt in 1922. Dr. Weisenberg was forced to assemble the 48 most prominent public figures including 12 Zionists. In 1928, after the recovery of the fund, the management was transferred to Dr. Presser.


Committee for the Rescue of German Jews

Translated by Susan Rosin

In 1939 a committee was established to help German Jews of Polish citizenship who were cruelly expelled by the Nazis. The destitute refugees were forced to cross the border and arrived in Stryj where they were helped by the local community. The committee worked with the Kehila and helped a few dozens of refugees.


WIZO

Translated by Susan Rosin

The local Stryj chapter of WIZO (Women's International Zionist Organization) opened in 1929 with the talented and devoted Mrs. Rachel Katz as chairperson. Women from all walks of life joined the chapter and were active in Zionist activities, fundraising for the various funds and causes, educating young girls and spreading knowledge about Eretz Israel, the history of the Jewish people and Hebrew and Jewish literature.

When Mrs. Katz resigned, the chapter fell on hard times and only recovered when she returned with her dedicated assistants Mrs. Rosmarin and Mrs. Kaufman.

In 1938, a new meeting hall, in the house of A. Apflegreen at Rynek 6 was dedicated.


[Page 106]

The Jewish Economic Society

by Mgr. Jacob Waldman

Translated by Susan Rosin

A non-Zionist Jewish Economic society was established in 1935. The society was supported by the Jewish representatives to the Polish Sejm Wiszlitzki and Yager and received active help from the Polish authorities. The society was housed in a narrow alley off Zamkowy street.

The society's goal was to cooperate with those who were unaffiliated with any party and with the Polish authorities and was comprised of a number of local and government officials, some merchants and craftsmen from the Bund and some of the more educated. The society was an artificial creation, had no ideological direction, and enjoyed no support from the local Jewry. Dr. Rappaport, once a member of the Bund, was appointed the head of the society.

Although this society did not represent Stryj's Jewry, the authorities entrusted the community to it.

At that time, the various parties and factions struggled with the issue of selecting a new rabbi after the death of rabbi Eliezer Ladier. In spite of the opposition by most Jews in town, the board appointed rabbi Jolles as chief rabbi of Stryj.

The small budget of the Kehila was barely sufficient to cover the expenses of the religious, health and social institutions. It needs to be noted that in spite of the economic difficulties, the non-Zionist board still supported the pioneers immigrating to Eretz Israel.

The Jewish Economic Society did not rule for long. After the elections, the Kehila came again under the leadership of the Zionist parties, and the society and Agudat Israel were forced into the opposition. The issue of electing a new rabbi remained unresolved and the plans of the new leadership for a financial overhaul discontinued when the red army occupied the city in the fall of 1939. The new authorities disbanded this important institution.


The Jewish Civic Casino

by Mgr. Jacob Waldman

Translated by Susan Rosin

The Casino was a meeting-place for the intellectuals of our town, and it was a club without any political affiliation. The rooms were nicely decorated. The members belonged to different parties - from radical Zionists to members of the Bund and the PPS (Polish Socialist Party). Here meetings, conversations and debates were conducted on current affairs especially during the cold winter months. Dr. Milbauer talked about his trip to Eretz Israel and the 1935 maccabiah. The women spent the evenings, playing cards and the men had conversations around the bar. The beautiful rooms and the good company brought even some liberal Poles to the casino. The Presidents of the Club were Dr. Hoffner, Dr. Brauner, Dr. Weiss and Dr. Schindler. The Club Committee supported the Jewish Orphanage and the Jewish Hospital.


The Jewish Sport in Stryj

by Mgr. Jacob Waldman

Translated by Susan Rosin

The first signs of Jewish sport were seen at the beginning of the 20th century. Herzl's and Nordau's slogans of “Muscular Judaism” (Muskeljudentum), awakened the youth of our town into physical awareness in the atmosphere of the national revival.

Polish and Ukrainian sport societies were established in Galicia with support from national athletic organizations such as the Polish “Sokol”. The first soccer teams started playing in the fields.

The Jewish youth in Stryj watched with envy their gentile neighbors and followed the Polish soccer team “Pogoń” and the Ukrainian team “Skala”.

Although the public park “Yordan” was set-up for sporting events with the support of wealthy Jewish families such as Borak, Shenfeld and Halpern and with help from the Jewish mayor of Stryj Dr. Falik, Jews were banned from it.

[Page 107]

In spite of the ban, a group of Jewish youth entered the park and “played soccer” without knowing the rules, without a coach and with no suitable gear.

The foundations of Jewish sport in the town were laid by a group of Jewish high school students. The first soccer ball was purchased at Shenfeld's and the training practices were held on a field near the barracks of the 33rd Austrian regiment. Borak's sawmill provided the materials to build the goals. This created much enthusiasm among the youth who found a way to gain strength and expend their energy. The initial training was held without sport shoes or uniforms. The first group called itself “Hasmonea” (Hashmonaim חשאֽמוׄנׇאִים) the same name used by the sports club in Lviv. After spending time in practice, the groups could play against “Pogoń” and “Skala”.

After much effort in convincing the authorities, the Jewish athletes were given a spot to practice in the “Yordan” park, although it was not suitable for proper games. In time, proper relations between the Polish teams and the Jewish group developed and the groups played in friendly competitions.

The dedication and the enthusiasm of the Jewish athletes finally opened the hearts and pocket books of the Jewish population and with that help the first uniforms were purchased: A white shirt with blue stripes and black shorts.

The announcements about the first game between “Hasmonea” and “Pogoń” created much excitement among the Jewish population in town. Although the Jewish team lost this first game, it was a deeply moving experience for all, and really accelerated the development of Jewish sport in town. The following competitions brought in many spectators who followed breathlessly the efforts of the athletes in blue and white.

The Jews of Stryj understood that it was their duty to support the Jewish sporting societies in order for them to gain strength and be able to compete. Due to these efforts, Stryj already had two trained teams at the level of B league before World War One in 1914.

Following the high school students who established “Hasmonea” came also youth not attending high school and even some attending cheder. These could be seen kicking balls in various areas in towns such as “Targowica” and “Bentszruwka”. We need to note that some great players came out of these efforts, and some were later hired by Polish teams.

The first players were mostly students of the upper grades in high school who became the future doctors and lawyers of Stryj: Dr. Allerhand, Dr. Ende, Dr. Fink, Dr. Frenkel, Shlomo Borak, Dr. Wilhelm Hausmann, Dr. Leon Hausmann, Marceli Fogel, Eigenmachtes and even the two Christian evangelical brothers Manjia.

The “Hasmonea” did not operate in accordance with any rules or regulation and was comprised of a number of teams headed by a “Captain”. World War one ended the first chapter of the Jewish sport in Stryj.

 

HaKoach (Strength) Society

The first Jewish sport society HaKoach was established after World War one. Its first president was Dr. Plesser, who contributed his own money for sports shoes for the entire team. Committee members were: B. Apfelgreen, Shlomo Borak, Mgr. Jacob (Tafko) Waldman, Dr. Berlass, the Brothers Henryk and Isidor Wolowski, Dr. Schutzer, Zussman and others.

The members of the first team were: Zygo Weiss, Shlomo Borak, Dr. Houssmann, P. Feuerstein, Benio Haber, Gottesmann, Graubart, Mundek Gritz, Nolek Apfelgreen and M. Redler.

In 1920 a second soccer team was organized as Hakoach II. The members were: Meniu Halpern, Jacob Wien, Filko Meller, Joseph Ber, Israel (Srulik) Kudisch, Benju Larch, Hochmann, Fruchter, Mannes Fefferbaum, Alexander Weiss, Max Hurwitz, Landes, and Joseph Rap. In addition to soccer, the society members also played, tennis and ping pong,

[Page 108]

conducted exercises, fencing, etc. The society acquired one of the best tennis courts in town and it was also used by Polish and the Stryj garrison tennis players. In tennis the society had great achievements and the outstanding players were: Maciek Stern, Benczer Rab and Dr. Wilhelm Hausmann. Three referees were appointed from among the society members: Mgr. Jacob Waldman, Isaac Katz and Mannes Halpern and they were asked to participate in important matches of Polish teams. Outstanding players were asked sometimes to join Polish teams and the “Hasmonea” team of Lviv.

In the winters, the members practiced skiing in the sorrounding mountains. The rooms of the society were used as a gathering place and for parties. All profits were used to enhance Jewish sport life in Stryj, soccer being the main sport. In 1924 the best players of the team Halpern, Fefferbaum and Radler left, and the team deteriorated and ceased to exist shortly afterwards.

 

Dror (Liberty/Freedom)

Shortly after Hakoach ceased to exist a new society, “Dror” was established. Most of the members were from the general public and youth: Knittel, L. Rotstein, Strassmann, Haber, Moshe Filko, Heiber, Moshe Wilff, Rottstein, Rap, Redler, and Mottek Meller. The society was located in the house of Weintraub on Botorego street. The first president was Nathan Welker, and the Committee included: Gleicher, Hammerschlag, Leah Brand, Sabina Binder, Taub, Berger, Weller, Garfunkel and Monderer.

A few years before the war, another team “Hapoel” was established and played with a team from Eretz Israel.

The decision to have the second Maccabiah games in Eretz Israel (despite official opposition by the British Mandatory government) was received with great enthusiasm in the Jewish world and especially in Poland. A headquarters office was established in Lviv with a branch in Stryj to handle the participation of the Jewish athletes, as many saw it as an opportunity for Aliyah and establishing themselves in Eretz Israel.

Dr. D. Lindenbaum headed the Stryj branch for the maccabiah.

 

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