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[Page 254]

The Welfare Association “Dobroczynnosz”[1]

Translated by Bill Leibner

The Jewish welfare organization in Sosnowiec was established in 1901. This was the first philanthropic institution that was devoted to helping people. The chairman was Dr. Neufeld.

Until 1914, the organization devoted itself to helping the poor by granting loans or food ration cards. It also maintained a medical clinic, a home for children, the Talmud Torah institution, and the ritual bath. In some instances, the organization also assisted poor maternity cases. The management of the institution also helped in building the Jewish hospital of Sosnowiec that was opened in 1912.

With the resignation of Dr. Neufeld from the chairmanship, Bernard Openhajm and Stanislaw Jarmulowicz acted as chairmen of the organization. In 1906 Openhajm again assumed the chairmanship of the organization, and remained at this post until he left the city of Sosnowiec in 1920.

The Jewish hospital continued to operate until 1914, when it was converted to a military hospital. Sometime later, it was returned to the society. The latter, in conjunction with the kehila of Sosnowiec, formed a hospital committee to administer the hospital. The chairman of the committee was Stanislaw Resnik, who remained at the post until he died in August, 1938.

A new chairman was elected in the person of Anthony Kon. This attorney has remained at the post until the present.

The first chief doctor at the Jewish hospital in Sosnowiec was Dr. Abraham Perlman. He died in 1928 and the task was then presented to Dr. Sz. Weinziher. He was also director of the hospital.

Sos254.jpg [29 KB] - A group of orphans and members of the management committee at the opening ceremony of the orphanage on December 18th, 1938
A group of orphans and members of the management committee
at the opening ceremony of the orphanage on December 18th, 1938

[Page 255]

The second period of activity began during the occupation of Sosnowiec. The welfare organization still helped financially poor families, ran a free kitchen for the needy, and distributed aid to the needy school children by paying their tuition. It also established adult education courses for illiterates and organized a bureau to conduct statistical research on the Jewish population of the city in order to anticipate the needs of this population. The welfare organization reached an agreement with the American organization to help children, whereby food distribution centers were established in several locations of the city. These centers not only distributed certain food products, but also clothing items that were shipped by the American committee. These centers functioned until the end of the occupation of the city.

Sos255.jpg [24 KB] - The management committee of the welfare association and the orphanage in 1939
The management committee of the welfare association
and the orphanage in 1939
First row from right; attorney Anthony Kon (vice- chairman), Regine Binder, Dr. Julian Hercman (chairman), Dr. Klare Rotsztajn, Jozef Saper.Second row from right, Alexander Gutman, Regine Szpigel, Dr. Emilie Ingster, Bolbine Zinger, Jakób Wulkan, Aron Zinger. Third row from right; Henryk Zinger (treasurer), eng. Szymon Sztarke-Nachner, Wladislaw Feldman (secretary), Ignacy Majtlis.

In 1933, the various “TOZ” branches in Zaglembie were centralized and therefore the medical services greatly improved.

The welfare organization created a special educational review committee to supervise the regular schools. This committee later became autonomous and distributed books and school needs to the schools. It established public libraries and provided hygienic and medical needs. During the occupation of the town, the organization began to send children to summer camps during the summers. This activity was very popular and developed rapidly with time.

The third phase of the welfare organization began with the end of the war. The chairman, Bernard , left the city and was replaced by Dr. Julian Hercman. The latter officially assumed the position in 1920. Meanwhile, Dr. Bronislawa Grodzinska continued to distribute clothing to the needy children. In 1920, an orphanage was established in the abandoned hospital pavilion.

[Page 256]

The home provides a shelter for 25 orphans of both genders. The main benefactor of the home was Maria Wolfson. The orphanage was moved in 1938 to a new building that was built by Regine Szpigel on a spot donated by Jozef Cukerman.

The home was not only built by Regine Szpigel but also furnished. The monies were provided by the Oskar and Leopold Szpigel foundation.

A committee headed by Regine Binder, Dr. Emilie Ingster, Dr. Klare Rotsztajn, Regine Szpigel, and Balbine Zinger managed the orphanage.

The welfare association bought a house in 1928 on Demblinska Street number 15, and converted it into a home for children. Balbine Lachman managed the place for many years. Part of the building is still used for this purpose, while the rest of the place was leased to the municipality for a school for Jewish children.

The welfare society also managed for a few years a sewing atelier and a workroom under the supervision of Ada Szymnowoda.

Since the end of the war, the organization has sent about 100 children annually to summer camps located near Olkusz or in mountain areas. The welfare association has created lately a psychological technical guidance office under the directorship of magister Mieczyslaw Lewin. The association received local and national assistance from the government and also from the kehila. The municipality still contributes monies to the orphanage, summer camps and children protection programs.

The association works closely with the “Centos” association in Warsaw which provides assistance for the orphanage, children protection programs, and vocational guidance programs.

In times of emergencies, especially during the German occupation, the association received subsidies from the “Joint” organization.

The annual budget of the association consisted of subsidies, membership fees, contributions, and revenues from various benefit activities. It also had a government permit to manage various show monopolies.

The management committee of the welfare association in 1939 consisted of Dr. Julian Hercman (chairman), attorney Anthony Kon (vice-chairman), Wladislaw Feldman (secretary), Henryk Zinger (treasurer), Regine Binder, Julian Kabak, attorney Pawel Majtlis, Ignacy Majtlis, engineer Szymon Starke-Nochner, Jozef Saper, Dr. Klare Rotsztajn, Jakub Wulkan, Aaron Zinger, and Alexander Gutman. The review committee consisted of Julian Rotenberg, Dr. Arnold Reszendowski and Jakub Skszynia.

The Branch of the “TOZ” Association in Zaglembie

(Towarzystwo Ochrony Zdrowia: Society for Health Prevention)

Translated by Bill Leibner

The association “TOZ” celebrated in 1937 fifteen years of existence. This organization has devoted all its energies and activities to raise the medical and hygienic level of the Jewish population in Poland. It has 15,000 registered members throughout the country are divided amongst 60 branches. Thousands of sick people are treated in the medical centers of the organization. The great emphasis is, however, on preventive medicine. Stress is placed on cleanliness and proper hygiene in order to improve the health level of the Jewish masses.

The “TOZ” branches in Zaglembie were established in 1927 in Sosnowiec and Bedzin under the guidance of Dr. H. Liberman and other doctors. They launched a campaign against scabs in the scalps that were rampant amongst the poor Jewish children in Zaglembie. The campaign was very successful, to the extent that today the disease is practically non-existent in the area.

[Page 257]

In 1933, the various “TOZ” branches in Zaglembie were centralized and therefore the medical services greatly improved.

Sos257.jpg [12 KB] - Dr. Hersz Liberman
Dr. Hersz Liberman
Well-known political and social activist. Cofounder and secretary of the “TOZ” branch in Zaglembie. Cofounder of the Jewish doctors association of Zaglembie and vice-chairman of the review committee and assistant director of the Jewish hospital in Sosnowiec. Founder and organizer of the children's wing at the hospital. Member of the kehila, chairman of the “ORT” branch of Sosnowiec and former member of the municipal council of the city.

The association created an office to supervise the medical and hygienic practices amongst the Jewish school children and the very poor Jews in town. For this purpose, a medical doctor and a hygiene nurse were employed. A program was also developed whereby 450 children received breakfast daily at school to sustain them during the school hours. This enabled the children to concentrate in their studies. They also received fish supplements and quartz lamp rays to improve their health.

Another chapter of activities consists of full and partial summer camps that benefit 250 children each summer. The four-week stay at a summer camp where the air is healthy and the food plentiful does wonders for the poor Jewish youngsters. Some children gain 4 to 5 kilos during their stay at the camp.

The organization also has 2 dental ambulances in Sosnowiec and Bedzin that provide dental care to the school children under the provision of the “TOZ”.

It must also be stressed that the children affected by scabs in their scalps and trachoma are treated by “TOZ” to prevent the spreading of these diseases amongst the children. We notice the stress that “TOZ” places on hygiene and health amongst the school children and the variety of programs devoted to cleanliness as a means to raise the health level of the Jewish population and especially Jewish children. We must not omit to mention the distribution of fresh laundry during the various cleanliness campaigns.

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