Organizations and Movements (cont.)
The activists of Zukunft, the youth branch of the Labor Bund movement
The Jewish Labor Bund Movement
It was 1897, in an attic in Vilna, that the The Jewish Labor Bund Movement of Russia, Lithuania and Poland was founded The first Socialist circles of Piotrkow came into existence around the year 1900. The young Socialists, imbued with an idealistic wish to wage battle against Czarist rule and social injustice, regularly met illegally. Those years, just prior to World War I, were marked by turbulence. 1904 and 1905 were especially eventful, filled with strikes, arrests, struggles and cultural as well as political activities. Cruel repression (from 1905 to 1912) resulted in many of the revolutionary leaders' being incarcerated or sent to Siberia, thereby seriously depleting the ranks of the movement. During the years of World War I, however, the movement began to take flight and expanded its cultural, educational and political activities.
After World War I ended and Poland became independent, the Bund organization continued to flourish and strove for a freer world of equity and justice. During the following twenty years, the Movement made an impact on the Jewish Community of Piotrkow. Many Bund leaders became representatives on the municipal council and in the Kehilah,
and the members of the Movement benefited from various social, economic and cultural institutions within the Party structure, enriching their quality of life.
The Party's youth movements, the Zukunft, Skif, Soms and the sports club, Morgenstern, became
beacons of hope for the many children of the Jewish workers of Piotrkow. A Jewish Weekly, the Piotrkower Veker, was published by the Party.
At the outbreak of World War II, under Nazi oppression, the Party leaders who represented the Jewish Council endeavored to continue their activities and maintain contact with the Central Socialist underground movement in Warsaw.
In July of 1941, a Polish underground courier, Maria Szczesna, was captured and arrested by the Gestapo. She was carrying illegal publications, as well as a list of names of the entire Council. It was thus that the Germans learned who the members of the resistance movement were and the nature of their rescue efforts. The leaders of the Piotrkow Bund were arrested shortly after and sent to Auschwitz. After a few weeks, their families were notified by telegrams than their loved ones had died.
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Piotrkow Trybunalski, Poland
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