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[Page 244]

The Homeowners Association

Prior to WWI, Jews and Gentiles created an association called “The Association of Immovable Property Owners”. The management consisted of people from both populations and they worked very nicely together defending their interests. During the German occupation, the association ceased to exist, although it was never liquidated.The association resumed its activities in 1930/1931. The Jewish members of the renewed management committee were Baruch Majerczyk, Zalman Koszuch and Dawid Rozenfeld. The committee also had gentile members. The organization worked harmoniously in defending the interests of the property owners.

The rise of Polish anti-Semitism affected the harmony of the organization. Jewish members of the organization were unwelcome amidst the membership at large. The Jewish management committee members decided to form a Jewish realty association and most Jewish members adhered to the organization. The new organization was formed in 1933 and submitted the necessary legal papers to the authorities. They were approved and general elections were called for in February 1934.

[Page 245]

The membership ratified the constitution and a new organization came into existence under the name of “House and Lot Owner Association of Sosnowiec”.

A management committee was elected that consisted of Mendel Lubelski (chairman), Szulem Lajzerowicz (vice-chairman), Baruch Majerczyk (honorary secretary), Zalman Koszuch, Dawid Rozenfeld, Haim Pelcman, eng. B. Fürstenberg, Dawid Swzajcer, Henryk Feliks, Awraham Chlewicki, and Wolf Ingster.

The team has remained unchanged to the present. The association started with 50 members and gradually increased its rolls and reached 350 members in 1938; almost all Jewish property owners of Sosnowiec.

The association was very active in the economic field and the social life of Sosnowiec. The organization maintained a secretariat and a meeting hall that served many organizations and social services. The members of the organizations were very active in a variety of associations in Sosnowiec. Arnold Berliner administered the secretariat.

Sos245.jpg [30 KB] - The management of the homeowners association
The management of the homeowners association
of Sosnowiec in 1938
Seated from right: Henryk [Jechiel] Feliks, Mendel Lubelski (chairman),
Szulem Lajzerowicz (vice-chairman), Baruch Majerczyk (honorary secretary).

Standing from right: Dawid Rozenfeld, Dawid Swzajcer,
Chaim Pelcman (treasurer), Abram Chlewicki.

[Page 246]

Beginning and development of the
“Gmilat Chesed” [Loan Society] in Sosnowiec

by Lajbisz Zendel

Translated by Bill Leibner

The history of the Fund is very short but very interesting. I will try to present the highlights of the society from its inception to the present.

In 1925 a relief committee was created in Sosnowiec similar to other such committees in Poland. The objective of the organization was to help the small merchants and artisans with small loans to get them started. The committee existed for two years until 1927 and worked within a very limited financial capacity.

Mr. Wertheim, a delegate from the “American Joint Organization“, visited Sosnowiec late in 1927. He came to see me since I was chairman of the kehila management team, and proposed to create a non-interest Mutual Assistance Fund.

Sos246.jpg [19 KB] - Lajbisz Zendel
Lajbisz Zendel
Well known social worker and creator of the Mutual
Assistance Fund of Sosnowiec, member of “Cekabe”
in Poland, former leader of the Jewish community and
member of the municipal council of Sosnowiec for
many years.

He proposed the establishment of funding procedure whereby the “Joint” would match any local investment with its own contribution, dollar for dollar. He further proposed that the Jewish community would raise 30,000 guilden [about 20 cent per person] and his organization would provide the other 30,000. The author of the article immediately called a meeting of various economic and social organizations in town. Present were Dr. A. Perlman, I. M. Berkowicz, Haim Jozef Zajonc and Dr. I. Hercman, who chaired the meeting. The latter decided to initiate a drive to collect the necessary funds. The sum of 17,000 guilden was raised. We now faced two serious problems. First, the organization had no legal standing since it did not file papers. Second, the Fund was short of its goal of 30,000 guilden.

The committee decided to discuss the matter with the Mutual Assistance Fund of Pogon that was already in existence. The town's assistance fund refused to move to Sosnowiec. So the committee decided to revive the old Relief Fund that was never liquidated. This organization had the legal status and provided time during which the Mutual Assistance Fund of Sosnowiec would obtain the legal papers. The local resident, Wolf Ber Fiszel, also promised to provide the Fund with 10,000 guilden. The committee now appealed to the “Joint” organization to permit it to open the activities with the 27,000 guilden, which was short 3.000 guilden of the final goal. Permission was granted, and the Fund started to function. It provided non-interest loans to impoverished small merchants and artisans. Shortly thereafter, Mr. Fiszel requested the return of his money that he loaned to the Fund. The money was returned.

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