Written by a Maccabi Member
On returning from military service in 1927, I thought about organizing our youth into paramilitary cadres. This was suggested by my memories of the pogroms that had destroyed Ukrainian Jewry after World War I, and also the thought that future pioneers needed defence training as well as trades. I organized a unit through Maccabi.
The instructors were the professional junior officers Starszi, Sergeant Fuchal and Jurek Plutonowi. We practiced with weapons and also played sport. The activities of the Jewish P.W. were the same as those of the Polish military preparation groups with the Polish name Pszyskosobiene Wojiskowa.
Over the period of a year I noticed that the unit was becoming weaker. So for the new school year I organized a group at Betar, judging that the Betar members were more disciplined than those of Maccabi. My hunch was correct. This unit existed for two years before the new antiSemitic movement reached us and the various Jewish selfdefence military preparation groups were abolished.
For three years, our groups of about eighty men received an elementary paramilitary education. They were recruited from among the working youth.
It is worth noting that the Pabianice Jewish P.W. was the only one in the whole area and that, even in Lodz, the Berek Joselewicz [Jewish military hero of the Polish uprising of 1863] legion under the leadership of Colonel Majzner wasn't organized until much later. Majzner came to Israel a few years ago and died here.
There was also an attempt to organize a women's division (P.W.K.), but the Polish P.W.K. was run strictly by the wellknown Pabianice antiSemite Jedrichowska, the women's gymnastics coach. She did not allow a Jewish women's division for military preparation to be formed in our town.
After a number of attempts to organize Jewish sport unions like Nesher [Eagle] and others, we began to work seriously to organize a Jewish sports club. In 1923 Maccabi was founded. It was very successful amongst the Jewish public and especially amongst the youth.
Maccabi offered sections and tours for athletics, bicycling, soccer, table tennis, military preparation and others. They also had an orchestra led by Nechemja Finkelsztejn. Szmulik Proport led the sports activities.
Chaim (Chaimke) Zawacki
(now in Israel)
General activities were led by:
Written by M. Kochman
After World War I Jewish Pabianice was ruined financially. The German occupier had stolen all the raw materials as well as the machines, not only from the large factories but also from the small ones. For a bit of brass or copper they would ruin expensive machines.
It was therefore very difficult to create a new economic life. The new Polish government helped impoverished Poles with longterm loans with no interest charged. Jews were not allowed such loans due to the antiSemitic attitude of the Polish government.
The Jewish population of Poland, especially artisans and small shopkeepers, found themselves in an incredibly difficult situation.
Thanks to the constructive help of American Jews, who organized aid organizations especially the Joint [American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee an umbrella fund-raising organization to benefit Jews living in war-torn Europe that was founded during World War I] Jewish financial life could be rebuilt after World War I. A network of cooperative banks was founded, which offered long- term, low-interest loans that saved Polish Jewry from complete economic disaster. Jewish Pabianice also benefited from this aid.
In 1919 a representative of the Joint came to Pabianice and asked the Jewish community to call a meeting at which all financial institutions were to be represented. A plan was to be worked out so that the Jews of Pabianice could also benefit from constructive financial aid. That same day it was decided to found the Credit Bank in our city.
Two: Mendl Szynicki, Jakob Wysocki, Szlama Wysocki
Row Three: Wolf Mendel, Jakob Jakubowicz
Four: M. Mendelson, Genja Rajchman, Mojsza Dawidowicz
We began the bank's activities with the minimal sum of three hundred marks. Four weeks later someone from the Joint came from Warsaw to see how things were going. He liked what he saw and promised us an interestfree three year loan of five thousand marks, which we received. This gave the bank the ability to develop many projects. The credit institution developed a good reputation. Almost all the savings of Pabianice Jewry were held at this bank. The large merchants and factory owners also used it, and the bank treated its customers well.
After three years the bank had its own capital, amounting to ten thousand marks.
Thanks to the normal activities of the bank, almost all of the Jewish artisan workshops which had been destroyed were rebuilt and the small shopkeepers were able to fill their shops with a variety of merchandise.
The growth and development of the bank was aided by the constant efforts of its voluntary Board, which consisted of:
After a while the bank received the right to borrow fifty thousand zlotys from the government's Bank Polski. This made people even more impressed with our bank, which existed until the outbreak of World War II.
Josef Dawidowicz, before his Aliyah in 1935
Standing: Mrs. Srumutki, Mrs. Epsztejn, Moszkowicz, Jechiel Mejer Laznowski, Hersz Halberg, Wolf Mandel, Szlama Wisocki, Szmuel Litmanowicz
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