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[Page 256e]

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Photograph no. 100: Bnei Akiva Branch, Soroca, 1934

From top to bottom, second row in the middle: Instructor Joseph Appel

 

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Photograph no. 101: He–Halutz “Tzeirei Mizrachi” Training group, 5694 (1934)

In the front the picture of Rabbi Shmuel Chaim Landa (Shachal), one of the founder of International Torah ve–Avodah (Torah and Work)

 

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Photograph no. 102: Torah ve–Avodah Organization, 1935

From bottom to top, 3rd row: 1–2. Unknown, 3. Joseph Vinitzky, 4. Simcha Shiber, 5. Yehosuah Beharav Tarlo, 6. Unknown, 7. Rabbi Baruch Hager, 8. Rabbi Gutman, 9. Unknown, 10. Yacov Levin, 11. Haniya Vinitzki, 12. Chana Beharav Tarlo in front of Haniya Vinitzky

[Page 256f]

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Photograph no. 103: The First Congress of Bussliyah, Kishinev 5695 (1935)

From top to bottom 2nd row, sitting: Dr. Meier Kotik, Moshe Horowitz, Isar Rabinovich, Advocate Yitzchak Koren

 

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Photograph no. 104: Visit of Yitzchak Greenboim, Head of the Immigration Department of the Jewish Agency, to the Aliyah Group no. 2 of “Anshei HaMaharat” (People of the Future) – subsequently Kibbutz Shamir, Bucharest, June 1935

Middle row, standing: 1. K. Leibovici, 2. Ben Zion Finkelstein, 3. H. Beznos, 4. R. Gebilder (Cohen), 5. D. Spector (Doron), M. Orchovsky, 7. I. Finkelstein, 8. Dr. A.M. Beck, 9. D. Perlmuter, 10. Itzchack Greenboim, 11. Engineer Zigler, 12. Dr. M. Helfman, 13. M. Amiti, 14. M. Goldman

 

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Photograph no. 105: Opening of the Tenth National Congress of Shomer Ha–Tzair, Kishinev, 28 December, 1935

From right to left: 1. N. Weitzman, 2. Israel Vinitzky, 3. A. Rabinovich, 4. M. Rolel, 5. Tz. Cohen, 6. I. Geler, 7. Tz. Weisberg, 8. H. Weisadler, 9. Sh. Dorfman (Bendor), 10. A. Cohen, 11. I. Finkelshtein, 12. B. Radoliansky, 13 D. Spector (Doron)

[Page 256g]

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Photograph no. 106: Training farm of the Zionist Youth in Romania, Floreasca (near Bucharest) 1934

 

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Photograph no. 107: A Training group in Floreasca, 1935

From top to bottom, second row, from left to right, standing: 1. Davidovich, 2. Ariyeh Abramovich (Abrahami), Yitzchak Finkelstein (Zohar), 4. L. Zomer, 5. Chana Aharon, 6. David Meitus

 

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Photograph no. 108: Apprentices in training from the Youth Orphanage in Kishinev 1936

[Page 256h]

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Photograph no. 109: Dror Ha–Bonim (Freedom Builders) Training farm in Transylvania, Hatzeg, 1936

 

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Photograph no. 110: Dror Ha–Bonim (Freedom Builders) Training farm in Transylvania, Hatzeg, 1938

 

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Photograph no. 111: Dror Ha–Bonim (Freedom Builders) Training farm in Transylvania, Hatzeg, 1939

[Page 257]

After the Congress, He Halutz executive decided to concentrate on opening new urban branches, strengthening the training activities and recruiting the majority of youth who were outside the training framework. The majority of the 9,000 members, mainly from Shomer Ha–Tzair (together with Bnei Avoda – Working Sons) and Gordonia (together with Tzeirei Zion), the rest came from Maccabi, Poalei Zion–Dror and Unaffiliated Halutzim. Knowledge of Hebrew, at least one year affiliation with He–Halutz and contribution to the Keren Kayemet Fund became the rules of the organization. (See p. 286 for the full text of the decision)

The Congress discussed the shortcoming of the seasonal training and decided that the only way to achieve the scope of the He–Halutz in creating a Halutz (pioneer) personality is to emphasis the permanent training.

The newly elected Executive Committee had the following structure: 4 members from Shomer Ha–Tzair and Gordonia and one member from Poalei Zion and Maccabi. The following members were elected: Moshe Horwitz, Meier Zaitz (Zait), Zoniya Chait, Aharon Cohen, Zomer Maimon, Tzwi Pinkenzon (Gershoni), Yacov Sherf, Menachem Shadmi, Beniyam Schwartzman, Joseph Shitz (Magen).

They also elected a 20 people council.

The Congress thanked Zeev Meshi, the representative from the Jewish Agency for his two years of dedicated work in Romania.

The urban branches did not have great attraction among the youth in 1934. They preferred to go directly to the various organizations that belonged to He–Halutz.

[Page 258]

The financial situation did not improve and it was difficult to rent equipment and housing and more instructors were needed to work with halutzim. That summer, the seasonal training was not very successful because the crisis in the agricultural sector did not spare He–Halutz. The local farmer paid very little and in some places Beitar harassed the halutzim. It became very difficult to work to the end of the season without going into debt.

A new group named Bussliyah, founded by Josef Bussel joined He–Halutz in 1934. Its members, aged 17–21, were the youngest group in Tzeirei Zion. This faction organized its own training groups and integrated them into the training a year after.

 

Ha–Oved (The Labourer)

At the beginning of 1934, the He–Halutz executive decided to establish a new organization, Ha–Oved, to attract professional halutzim. Due to the efforts of He–Halutz executive and the representatives from Eretz Israel, the organization grew to 21 Branches with 600 members. All members strove to learn Hebrew and acquire knowledge about Eretz Israel. In 1935 this group played a

[Page 259]

significant role in the training and the preparedness for immigration. It held a council on 24 Nisan 5694 (27 April 1935) in Beltz with the participation of 76 delegates from 42 branches from Bessarabia, Bucovina, Transylvania and the Regat.

The Council was opened by Dov Perlmuter, the representative from the Jewish Agency and by Tzwi Pinkenzon (Gershoni) who presented the report of the executive. I. Klauwer, Dr. M. Kotik and I. Shitz (Magen) lectured about the fundamentals of Ha–Oved and its future course of action in the He–Halutz organization.[1]

 

Absorption of the Aliyah and the decline in training

On 4–6 March 1935, at the beginning of the training season, it was announced that more than 90% of the immigrants from two “Schedules” were successfully settled in kibbutzim.[2]

This table shows how the certificates (143 for men and 32 for women) from “Schedule” one of 5695 (1935) were distributed among the various factions of He–Halutz.[3]

Affiliation Men Women Total
Gordonia, Bussliyah and Tzeirei Zion 44 37 81
Ha–Shomer Ha–Tzair 36 38 74
Unaffiliated Halutzim 35 27 62
Poalei Zion 17 16 33
Maccabi 10 12 22
Brissiyah 3 4 7
Total 145
52%
134
48%
279
100%

[Page 260]

Wizo and Yedidei Zion branches, which were established near each group, contributed to the improvement of the training conditions.[4] They cared about good living conditions and personal needs such as good nutrition, medical care, employment and loans.

All factions signed on 5 March 1935 an agreement on how to distribute the certificates among the He–Halutz factions for the next two years.[5]

  Percentage
Gordonia, Busslyiah and Tzeirei Zion – (26.5%)[6]
Gordonia, Busslyiah[7] 27.0% –
Tzeirei Zion 4% –
Ha–Shomer Ha–Tzair and Bnei Avodah 27.0% (26.5%)
Poalei Zion[8] 16.0% (11.5%)
Maccabi 11.0% (9.5%)
Brissiyah 3.0% (3.0%)
Unaffiliated Halutzim 7.0% (18.0%)
Special cases 5.0% (5.0%)
Total 100.0 100.0

[Page 261]

According to this new agreement, the certificates for Unaffiliated Halutzim decreased because they joined other associations such as Bussliyah, Bnei Avoda and Poalei Zion[9].

The table below shows the percentages of the distribution of certificates among all the affiliated factions of He–Halutz during the thirties in Romania.

He–Halutz Affiliations Oct.1931–March 1932 Apr. 1932–Sept. 1932 Oct. 1932–Sept. 1933 Oct. 1933–Sept 1934 Apr. 1936–Sept. 1936 Oct. 1937–Sept. 1938
General 85 78 73 65 70 67
Pan Zionists 6 5 11 12 13 12
Mizrachi 9 8 9 9 11 11
Beitar 9 5 8 7
Agudah 2 4 3
National 2 3 3
Total 100% 100% 100% 100% 100% 100%

Footnotes:

  1. Ha–Atid (The Future), issue 19, Iyar 5695 (1935) Return
  2. Gordonia members: Massada Group in Hedera, Avoka GROUP IN Pardes Chana, Bitzur Group in Kfar Ha–Horesh, Shomer Ha–Tzair and Bnei Avodah members: Kibbutz Be'Maaleh in Eyin Hai, Givat ha–Shomer in Kfar Saba, Sharid in Emek Yechezkel, and Eyin Ha–Sharon in Magdiel, Poalei Zion members: Kibbutz Yagur near Haifa, Maccabi and Brisiyah member in Gedera Return
  3. Information Bulleting of He–Halutz Centre, issue 3, March 1935, Bucharest, Erd un Arbeit, no. 17, 29 March 1935. Return
  4. Wizo allocated specific funds for the improvement of the “household training” in the Regat Kibbutzim.Rivka GIwalder, wife of Aharon Cohen, representative of He–Halutz in Romania was one of the dedicated instructors and supervisors. Return
  5. Ha–Atid (the Furure) Warsaw, issue 15, Adar II, 5698 (1938) Return
  6. The figures in parentheses are according to a previous agreement Return
  7. Due to the growth in membership in the Spring of 1934 Return
  8. Due to the amalgamation of Poalei Zion with Dror Return
  9. Information Bulleting of He–Halutz Centre, issue 3, March 1935, Bucharest Return

[Page 262]

New Training Farms

The Floreasca Farm [1]

After many years of wandering and working in various farms around the country, the halutzim of the Noar ha–Zioni (Young Zionists) organization in Romania founded the Farm in Floreasca, near Bucharest, in the spring of 1934. The scope was to encourage and prepare the youth for immigration. The times were difficult for legal immigration; the illegal immigration (Aiyah Bet) was not yet organized. Each candidate had to wait 5–6 years to immigrate and there was the looming danger of youth losing interest. The problem was to find something to interest the youth after the two year training period, because once home they could not find anything to do in the home or in other youth organizations. The scope of establishing the farm was to keep the halutzim in the social surrounding and to create a future power reserve for the organization.

The farm was organized on land given by the owner of the brick factory “Emilian” near Bucharest. The halutzim had to build their housing on this land (6 hectares) and work in the factory for minimum wage.

In a short time, the halutzim built some cabins, a canteen, a dairy barn and a storage room for the equipment. They purchased a generator, tools, a horse,3–4 cows and a small chicken coop. It provided 60–70 people with milk and produce for the entire year. The peasants for the nearby villages did not harass them and let them work on the Jewish owned farms.

The farm did not cover all the needs of the members and of the numerous visitors, but it became famous for the Floreasca Nights in the summer and winter as a gathering place of halutzim from all over Romania. One of the dedicated organizers was Chana Aharon who worked at the farm until 1938.

At the beginning of 1936, Floreasca became a transit point for halutzim from the Noar ha–Zioni (Zionist Youth) from Lithuania who stayed there until their immigration.

[Page 263]

The new fascist government of Goga Cuza of 1938 did not harm the farm, even if they screamed “Jews to Palestine,” but in 1938 when the He–Halutz was terminated, Floreasca closed and all documents and the archives had to be hidden.

Floreasca was an important centre for the movement: the secretaries of the movement lived there and had their meetings and groups of immigrants gathered there waiting for legal and illegal immigration. The initial group of 60–70 members grew to over one hundred and at all times the farm was helped by the Yedidim (Friends) under the leadership of Dr. Shmuel Zinger, former Parliament member and chairman of Keren Kayemet in Romania and Architect Arent, a non–Zionist representative.

In 1938, when Chana Aharon immigrated to Eretz Israel, her place was taken by Alexander Heshkof. He worked very hard and did not give up even when his friends Tz. Har–Zahav, Tz. Yuster and Ariyeh Abrahami (Abramovici) immigrated to Eretz Israel.

 

The Hertza Farm [2]

The halutz movement in Transylvania generated from the intellectuals of the Brissiyah group. Like the students group He–Haver (Friend), Brissiyah's scope was to attract students and intellectuals and prepare them to be leaders for the national movement. Soon, it became very clear that beside theories and ideology it is imperative to know how to build with “bricks and mortar.” In 1932 at the Brissiyah members meeting, the decision to follow the halutzim model was adopted and the members started the Hachshara training for two years under the name Ha–Bonim (The Builders).

[Page 264]

Ha–Bonim joined the youth movement Dror of the Poalei Zion and formed a new organization named Dror Ha–Bonim (Freedom Builder).

Immediately after, a small group of four people from Brissiyah made Aliyah and settled in a cabin they built themselves near Kfar Saba (not far from the base of Kibbutz Dan) and waited for their friends to follow.

Inspired by these pioneers, a centre for training was started in Transylvania in April 1933 on 10 hectares of land owned by Baron Otchkoai, a wealthy Jew from Hatzeg. In one year, with the support of the 500 members of the Jewish Community of Hatzeg the halutzim built a farm and a building for lodging. The community decided to plant a tree for each newborn on the training farm in order to show support for the Halutzim.

The farm had a vegetable garden, farm animals and a field for cereal crops. The farm had good produce that the halutzim sold in the surrounding towns and villages. In the winter the pioneers worked outside the farm in jobs sponsored by the community. The community also helped the farm financially and appointed Rabbi Shmuel Garin to oversee its activities. Rabbi Garin dedicated all his time and efforts to run the farm efficiently and cared that the pioneers receive a good patriotic education. In no time, the farm became a central point of training for the youth of Transylvania and Bessarabia.

In April 1936 Abraham Hirsh (Shnier) one of the first halutzim from Transylvania was sent back to Transylvania to help the movement in the farms and other training places used by the seasonal groups, mostly from the Zionist Youth, Shomer Ha–Tzair and Dror Ha–Bonim.

Hirsh participated

[Page 265]

at the Eighth He–Halutz Congress in Kishinev, 1936 and stayed in Romania for more than one year to help develop the training farms.

 

The Beitar Zeev Jabotinsky Farm at Zastawna [3]

Zastawa in Bucovina was the base of Beitar Halutz movement for many years. In 1935 a farm with buildings, warehouses and a dairy farm was leased and named for Jabotinsky, the founder of the Beitar movement. The farm functioned as a training ground until the summer of 1940 when Bucovina was annexed by the Soviet Union. The farm purchased for the sum of 38,750 Lei 2 horses, 10 cows and a coop for chicken, geese and ducks. The funds were raised by selling 10,000 Lei shares and from a He–Halutz Beitar fundraiser that brought in 41,439 Lei in 1935 and 43,112 Lei in 1936. In 1936, some of the funds were used to support the members who made Aliyah. The farm was also used to hold seminars for instructors and for the immigration groups meetings.

 

The Galatz Farm

For longest time Galatz had hachshara groups who worked in factories and in the port. With the 50,000 Lei financial help of the community and Bnei Brith, a seasonal farm was set up for training purposes in 1935 on community property. The plan was to purchase land and to set up a permanent farm. Because of the anti–Semitism and many legal problems, this project was not realized. Among the people who worked at the Galatz farm were Yitzchak Iancovich and the owner of the farm, Al. Buchiltz, who

[Page 266]

was also responsible for the training, The farm had good equipment and a dairy farm with 40 thoroughbred cows.[4]

 

The Orphanage farm in Kishinev

In the spring of 1936, a modern farm was set up in Boiukan in the vineyards near the Kishinev Orphanage. The Orphanage tradition was to organize seasonal training in the vineyards of their property. Because so many people at the institution were interested in training,[5] He–Halutz decided to set up a vegetable farm and a dairy production with 30 pure bred cows.

A half a million Lei was raised and the farm opened on March 1936. Rabbi I.L. Tzirelson, the chief Rabbi of Kishinev, the Chairman of the Jewish Community Advocate D. Shteinberg, the District Governor, the Mayor of Kishinev and many representatives from the Zionist Union participated at the opening festivities.

After the opening, a first group of halutzim left for Eretz Israel on April first.

[Page 267]

A very important cooperation was established between the Orphanage and the He–Halutz organization based on the following principles:

  1. To change the scope of the education system in the Orphanage in order to ensure a future for the trainees in the spirit of national revival
  2. To draw the non Zionists who were running the institution to constructive action and to have them finance the equipment and the opening of the farm
Menachem Rolel and Moshe Shnitzer from the Union, the Orphanage director Pinchas Smikon, the Orphanage chairman Skomorovsky, a half assimilated Jew and Solomon Shor, leader of the Orthodox religious community in Kishinev worked together to realize this project .

The work at this farm became a symbol of the success of the He–Halutz hachshara. The Group Dalet, “Gavish” became the base of this farm because they knew how to start a new enterprise, to build up ties with the institutions apprentices and to train the graduates. The trainees worked hard and even heeded the Rabbi's call to keep Shabat; as a result they walked with crates of milk bottles on their back on Shabat.

The local public library brought books to the farm and twice a week there were Hebrew learning classes.

All the successes of the farm had taken place despite the difficult political situation created by the rise of fascism in Romania and Bessarabia. In 1938, all political parties including He–Halutz, were suspended and a totalitarian regime was installed in Bucharest. The future training was then taken over by “Preparation for Aliyah” organization in a very limited way. Thus all Hachshara enterprises had to reduce their activities and to change their scope.

Footnotes:

  1. From the notes of supervisor Ariyeh Abrahami Return
  2. From the notes of Eliyahu Green (Kiriat Onu), Abraham Hirsh–Shnier (Givat Haim) and Yechezkel Drori from Maagan Return
  3. According to Yarden (Jordan), Bucharest, Beitar Romania, issue 16, 10 Nissan 5696, 2 April, 1936 and issue 20 from 20 Nissan 5697 (1937) – monthly publication dedicated to Jewish youth issues Return
  4. Be–Hachshara, Bucharest, Kislev 5697 (1937) and Moshe Klein: “The Jews of Romania in their Land of Exile and in their Homeland” published by the Association of Romanians in Israel, n.d. p. 51 Return
  5. From a letter of one of the trainees:
    “For the last two weeks we work in Krikova. We are so happy about this opportunity to advance in life! We receive a good pay for our work and we prepare for Aliyah. My dear Alik, do you understand the importance of being independent and contributing to society in our homeland! The work is hard but for us it's a holiday and I wouldn't change places with the kids at who are in their parents' home. Say hello to all the friends and to Bella Yacovlevna. Yours, A. Grovitz, Krikova, 9 Tamuz, 5695 (1935)”
    This letter was published in the Yiddish pamphlet: “35 years of the Orphanage for boys in Kishinev, 1900–1935” Return

 

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