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[Page 392]

[continuation of article on p. 391]

        In 1925 the Agudat Achim Anshei Drohitchin organization moved into its own building at 158 Henry Street, and in 1930, the Society bought a third parcel of land at the Mount Lebanon Cemetery in New Jersey. In 1932, yet another piece of land was purchased at the House of David Cemetery.

        With the assistance of Shaul Koch, the Drohitchin Ladies' Auxiliary was established in 1933, and in 1930 and 1934 the Organization held two balls, the profits of which greatly helped to improve the situation of the organization's new home. In November 1935 the Organization celebrated its 35th anniversary with great fanfare, and in 1936 the Organization initiated the Drohitchin Relief Society, which helped to support hundreds of families back in the hometown of Drohitchin.

        In 1950, The Society celebrated its 50th golden jubilee anniversary. Currently, the Organization has paid off and owns the building at 158 Henry Street in New York, where it still houses the famous Drohitchin Synagogue and all of the community organizations and groups that the Organization still actively operates for various activities. However, the most important function of the Organization was to support those who were spared from the last holocaust with money and advice.


[photo:] The synagogue building of the Agudat Achim Anshei Drohitchin in New York. It was purchased in 1928 at 158 Henry Street. The synagogue continues to exist today.


This organization was founded in 1944 on the initiative of Yosef Kollen, Benny Tepper, Efraim Shmid and Asher Volins. In addition these men, Herman Grossman, Gedaliah Kaplan, Yudel Miller, Garber, Zlotnick and others also attende the first meeting. The branch started operating officially with Yosef Kaplan as Chairman. During the festival of Shavuot of that same year, the Union helped support a holiday celebration for émigrés from Drohitchin, where the participants were motivated to help build the new organization.

        In October 1945 a banquet was held for the purpose of the officially inauguration of the branch of the Workers' Union, which received its charter under the number 401. At that time the Branch decided to take an active role in the Union's orphan adoption campaign. Herman Grossman adopted an orphan and paid $300 to the Branch. In March of 1946, a large executive committee was elected. In addition to the aforementioned, the following members also joined: Yosef Schub, Yosef Birnbaum, Alfred Gray, Mrs. Stauber, Carl Sheinbaum, Itche Pisetsky and Shmuel Levi, elected as Chairman.

[Page 393]

        In May of 1946, under the leadership of Gedaliah Kaplan. the Branch participated in the "care package drive" for refugees from Drohitchin. In the autumn of 1946, the Branch participated in the care package campaign for refugees in Germany. In January, 1947, the Branch participated in the Union campaign on behalf of the Israeli Histadrut Trade Union, and in the spring of 1947, the Branch took part for the first time in the Jewish National Fund Campaign. In 1948, in conjunction with the Drohitchin Relief Society, the Branch initiated a joint aid campaign to assist those who had come from Drohitchin, but who were now in Germany, Poland, Italy and Cyprus.

        In 1948 and 1949, the chairman of the Branch was Asher Volins. The Branch was on the "honor roll" several times because of its dedicated efforts in building up the State of Israel. The Branch holds regular meetings, organizes literary evenings and lectures, organizes annual banquets (in conjunction with the Israel Guarantee campaign), etc.

        This Branch, which had more members from Drohitchin, is headed today by the energetic businessman community activist BennyTepper, the chairman of the Drohitchin Aid Society in New York.


Information from Shmuel Levy

Hershel Schwartz

        Hershel Schwartz, a son of Eliezer and Rachel Schwartz, was born in Drohitchin in 1906. In his early youth in 1921 he left Drohitchin and moved to Norwalk, Connecticut, where he attended high school. On December 21, 1930, Hershel married Bertha, a daughter of Zvi-Hillel and Sarah. Zvi, a successful businessman in Connecticut, was connected with large supermarkets for many years, until 1955. He was also the pioneer of self-service businesses in Connecticut.

        At the same time Schwartz was very active in Jewish community life in Connecticut. He was the former chairman of the Israel Bonds campaign since 1951, the former treasurer of the Jewish Center, the former president (until this year) of the synagogue there. Since 1948 Schwartz has been the chairman of the United Jewish Appeal, vice president of the Community Council, member of the Zionist Club that puts on performances on behalf of needy individuals and organizations.

        The Schwartzes have a daughter Ronni and a son Leonard.

Chicago Drohitchin Branch 294

As a member of the "Sholom Aleichem Branch" of the Jewish National Workers Union and being familiar with their programs and activities, it occurred to me to establish a special Union branch of Drohitchin émigrés whose agenda would be first, to address for the needs of the Jews in Drohitchin; second, to work for Jewish national interests in this country; third, to address the fraternal and cultural needs of the branch members; and fourth, to actively help in the building of the state of Israel in any way possible.

        The first founders' meeting of a small group of Drohitchin émigrés took place, with the participation of B. Frimer, in February of 1941, when the foundation of the Drohitchin branch was laid. After obtaining the legal quorum needed for a meeting, the official installation of branch officers took place on June 29, 1941. Louis Segal, secretary of the Union made a special visit from New York to lead the installation ceremony, and the Drohitchin branch was admitted to the Union as a full-fledged member, thereby coming into official existence.

        Many Drohitchiners became members of the Branch, which, in time, grew substantially and gained a reputation in Jewish Chicago as well as in Union circles across the country. The work of the Branch concentrated on the following areas:

        1) Israel Funds: Through its annual fund-raising events, the Branch raised tens of thousands of dollars for Israel's trade union (Histadrut) campaign, the Jewish National Fund (Keren Kayemet le-Yisrael), the Combined Jewish Appeal, Zionist Workers' Fund and other organizations.

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