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[Page 227]

The Social Part
Translated by Bill Leibner

The co-ed high school, gymnasium and elementary school
belonging to the Sosnowiec Jewish school organization

Between 1916-1918, many educational institutions were established in towns and townships in the occupied areas. In Sosnowiec it was somewhat different. Here a high school for girls was established in 1915. The school was controlled by assimilated Jews and was open on Saturday and Jewish holidays. Strong pressure from the teachers at the school forced the administration to close the school on Jewish holidays. The school existed until 1922.

Sos227a.jpg [8 KB] - Dr. Fajwel Widerman
Sos227b.jpg - Dr. Tuvia Melodista
Dr. Fajwel Widerman Dr. Tuvia Melodista
Director of the High School. Chairman of the Jewish natural association of Zaglembie. Chairman of the society of our live in Sosnowiec. Former director of the Yavne High School in Bedzin and former member of the Bedziner municipal council. Chairman of the High School, Chairman of the Zionist organizations in Sosnowiec. Vice-chairman of the Zaglembie friends of the Hebrew University. Vice-chairman of the Zaglembie doctors association. Chairman of the Sosnowiec Keren Hayesod.committee. Member of the Jewsh community council. Member of the municipal revision commission. Member of the executive of the Zionist organization in Poland. Former chairman of the Sosnowiec Jewish councilmen club. Chairman of the Jewish community council 1924-1932] and member of the Jewish hospital committee of Sosnowiec in 1929-1931.

[Page 228]

The assimilated high school closed in 1922 and was replaced by a school that catered more to the national Jewish interests. The driving force behind this move was the late Dr. Abraham Perlman. He led the creation of a society that assumed the leadership of the school. Its goal was to develop a Jewish school system in Sosnowiec. It encountered many obstacles that prevented the school from following the planned steps during the first years. Besides, because the Jewish community of Sosnowiec never defined its Jewish educational aims, it did not adapt readily to the changes of the school. Furthermore, the majority of the Jewish population sent their children to the non-Jewish schools where they were well-received. It is a sad fact that not only the so-called assimilated circles but also the traditional Jews have avoided the Jewish school systematically.

Sos228a.jpg [31 KB] Jewish high school in Sosnowiec
The average Jews for whom Judaism was a fact of life were the first strong supporters of the Jewish school. The inhabitants of the Mandzewer Street were the pioneers who enabled the school to expand. The first year of the new high school was not too different from the previous years as an assimilated school. After all, the new school was not totally new; it merely took over the functions of an assimilated school. The new school had to proceed with caution as it underwent the ideological change from assimilation to a healthy respect of Judaism. The student body had to be considered for many students had been in attendance at the school for years and their curriculum could not be changed overnight. The staff, administration, and parents also created some problems. All these elements slowed the development of the Jewish high school of Sosnowiec.

The high school leadership took all these matters in consideration but steadily led the school in the direction of teaching a healthy respect for Judaism in spite of the elements that wanted to remove all Jewish subjects from the curriculum. The city authorities also supported the assimilationist trend and heavily contributed to the school budget since it coincided with the Polish national aims. As a matter of fact, the official inspector was not even aware of the changes that were taken place at the school. He assumed that the assimilated trends continued to prevail at the school and the city continued to support it. This support of course declined when the aims became known. In spite of meager financial resources and the limited support it received from sections of the city's Jewish population, the high school made progress and began to gain the confidence of the Jewish population.

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