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[Page 147]

The First National Youth Organization

by Y[itzchak] Ben-David (B[urstein])

The chapter of Tzeirei-Zion—Hitachdut was the first nationalist youth organization that was founded in Jonava after the First World War. Its founders included Dov Zisla, Nathan Janusevich, the teacher Joselovich, Namiot and Dov Blumberg. The finest of the working youth, officials and youth of the middle class gathered into this organization.

The prime objectives which it stood for were: preparation of the youth for aliya, cultural activities, collection of money for the Keren Kayemet (Jewish National Fund) and knowledge of the Land.

The Hebrew library was founded in 1919 as a center for Hebrew culture. Alongside it was the meeting place in the Weiner home on Vilna Street. Meetings, lectures and social activities were organized in this place.

The chapter, which began in 1922, established itself and flourished through the efforts of Moshe Ivensky, and became a political factor in the life of the town.

Those days were the days of Jewish autonomy in Lithuania with the Jewish Ministry headed by Dr. Soloveitchik. Communities were established, headed by the national council. National banks and other organizations were founded. Tzeirei Zion had delegates to all of these.

The Tzeirei Zion party took first place in Jonava next to the General Zionists. It was the second largest in the community of Jonava and in the town council. Its delegates to the community council were Moshe Ivensky, Menachem Mines and Eliezer Levin.

Ivensky served as the chairman of the organization throughout many years. His second in command was Menachem Mines, one of the vibrant activists of the city. The writer of these lines served as the secretary.

During the years of 1922-1930, the chapter had more than 100 active members and more than 300 supporters who lent their support to Tzeirei Zion in elections to the community council and the Zionist congresses.

The Hechalutz organization was under the influence of the party, as was of course the Gordonia youth organization that was founded in 1927 and existed under the shadow of Tzeirei Zion. It was headed by Alter Klotz, Pesach Shachor, Shmuel Goldshmidt, Dina Perlstein and Leah Burstein. The members of Tzeirei-Zion also dedicated their time to tending to Maccabee.

During the 1930s, Tzeirei-Zion blended with the members of the Tz. S. (Young Socialists), and incorporated most of the national Socialist youth into their ranks.

* * *

Now, when we are far from that romantic era of the enthusiastic activities of the Jewish youth at gatherings, competitions and camps, we can properly value the great importance of that activity in forging the Jewish youth and creating meaning in their daily lives. This activity also gave them vigor, joy of life, and most importantly – the instilling of Jewish pride into their hearts.

Some of these Jewish youths of Jonava who succeeded in making aliya to the Land established large families, and took root in cities, towns and kibbutzim. Would it be that there were more of them, and that we did not have to weep over the many who perished at the hands of the German and Lithuanian murderers.

Thus concludes a pleasant chapter in the fruitful life of the youth in the exile of Lithuania, in a splendid town that was called Jonava – as if this was all a dream and not reality.

The beloved town remains far, far away – the town in which we spent our pleasant childhood. Nobody even visits the place, for no memory of the Jews remains there, and there is nobody to even say Shalom. This is the bitter reality.

[Page 148]

Members of Poale-Zion – Hitachdut


A group of members of Poale-Zion in the Girialka factory


The chapter of Hashomer Hatzair close to the time of its founding (1928).
A meeting with the Keidani delegation

Pesach Shachor, Zelig Yudelevich, X (from Keidani), Gila Plakser, Leah Grodsky, X, Alter Khasid, Shimon Gorfein, X, Leah Yudelevich, Moshe Fried, Shifra Stoller, Zeev Opnik, Yehuda Zopovich, Baruch Jalinovich, Pesia Konsky, Rachel Lifschitz, Sarah Shachor, Tvia Galinsky


A group with Baruch Opnitzky from Keidani:

L. Grodsky, R. Lifschitz, Chaya Rivka Aronson, Rachel Shapira, Beila Grodsky, Z. Opnik, Baruch, Batya Gorfein, Sheinka Friedland, Pinchas Shapira, Chana Josefs, Sheinka Klibansky, Rivka Simkovich, Dova Dobiansky, Osnat Katzenberg


A group of older youths “Achduta” (with some youths):

Yitzchak Kremenitzin, Z. Opnik, Shlomo Perlstein, B. Jalinovich, Netanel Shapira, Izak Reibstein, Shimon Gorfein, P. Shapira, Chaya Dobiansky, Elka Untershatz, Sh. Shachor, Beilka Friedman, Batya Perchik, L. Grodsky, Mina Levitz, Hadassah Friedman, David Veps, Teibla Krabitzky, Freda Vilkomirsky, Tzvia Galinsky, M. Kremenitzin


A group of Achva girls with Tzvi Ulpasky:

Chana Josefs, B. Gorfein, Tzvi, Ch. R. Aronson, D. Dobiansky, R. Simkovich, Chaya Portnoy, Yenta Nochimovich, Sheina Friedland, Leah Klibansky, Dvora Berzin, R. Shapira, T, Galinsky, Feiga Zandman, A. Katzenberg


Shevet Binyamin (Group Alef) with its counselors, photographs in the snow with the shul in the background. Passover 5681 (1921).


A group of Achduta prior to the aliya of Shimon Gorfein (Noy), at the beginning of 1933

A. Reibstein, Sh. Shachor, Sarah Goldberg, H. Friedman, Shimon, Alter Khasid, B. Jalinovich, R. Lifschitz, L. Grodsky, L. Yudelevich, P. Shapira, Sh. Stoller, Tz. Galinsky, S. Perlstein, Sh. Klibansky, N. Shapira, Z. Opnik


A group of older girls with Tzvi Ulpasky


A group of scouts bidding farewell to Shimon [Gorfein (Noy)]

D. Veps, A. Untershatz, B. Jalinovich, B Friedman, Ch. Dobiansky, B. Perchik, P. Vilkomirsky, Sh. Shachor, M. Kremenitzin, Sarka Segalovsky, Shimon, P. Shapira, X, A. Reibstein, Mina Levich


{Top right card photocopy}

The organization for the aid of Hebrew scouts in Lithuania
The Organization of Hebrew Scouts
Hashomer Hatzair
Central leadership
1) This card certifies that its owner is a member of the organization of Hebrew scouts, Hashomer Hatzair of Lithuania
2) This card gives the scout the right to wear the scouting uniform, to bear the insignia of the scouts, and to publicly fill its scouting tasks.
3) This card must be constantly found in the possession of the scout, and must be presented by the scout at a time of need.
4) Each scout may only possess one card.
5) If this card is lost, the scout cannot receive another card without special permission

{Bottom right card photocopy}

Palestinos Zydu darb bel ju
Istigoms remti draugija
The organization
For the Working Land of Israel in Lithuania
{Repeated in Yiddish}
Member card
No 19913
Printed by Sh. Joselovich, Kovno

{Top left letter}

The organization of Hebrew Scouts
Hashomer Hatzair
Kovno Chapter
March 1, 1928

Yente Nochimovich

We acknowledge the receipt of your request of February 14, 1928.
At a meeting of the council that took place on February 28, we dealt with your request, and the members of the council decided to accept you as a member of our organization.

For the first three months, you will be {cannot be made out}

The kibbutzim will be begin immediately after {cannot be made out}, and we will inform you of this.

With scouting greetings

{Signatures cannot be made out}

{Middle card photocopy}

Card number 703
First name and Surname: Yente Nochimovich
Chapter: Jonava Class: D
Age: 17 Level: III
Surety: --
Role: --
How long in the organization: From 1929
Her task: --
This card is valid until: Dec 31, 1939 {last digit is overwritten and unclear}
Chairman of the support committee: {signature illegible}
Secretary: {Signature illegible}
Head of the chapter: {No signature}
Kovno, February, 5, 1932

{Lower center card photocopy}

Each and every activity of the Hebrew Hapoel in the Land, every new achievement attained by it – strengthens the ability of the Land to absorb, and opens it gates to the camps of pioneering immigrants.

City: Jonava
Name: Rachel
Family Name: Nochimovich
Joined the organization on: June 21, 1929

{Top statement repeated in Yiddish}

{Lower left card photocopy}

Member, you should be concerned about tomorrow for yourself and thousands of your brethren. Arise as a faithful soldier among the ranks of the workers in the organization! Pay your dues promptly and collect dues from others! Every penny is added to the account.

The card is given on:
June 4, 1929
{Signatures of the central committee, the local committee, and the card holder are illegible.}

[Page 149]

With soldiers: Efraim Baten, X, Yitzchak Gurvich, X, Levi Kaper, Chana Zopovich, X, Daniel Rikless, Aber Untershatz, X, Shlomo Friedman, Feivel Shapira


Members of Brit Hechail: X, Aberka, A. Kaper, Reping, Berl Segalovsky, Grossman, Reznik, Gurvich, Y. Klibansky, Baten, X, Vinitzky, N. Goldshmidt, L. Kaper, Friedman, A. Dochovsky, Mechnik


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