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Youth Organizations {Cont.}

[Page 292]

“Hanoar Hazioni”

[Zionist Youth]

by Mordechai Hampel

Translated by Lance Ackerfeld

In 1926 the “Hashomer Hatzair” organization, which had not existed for several years, was reorganized at the initiative of several youths. Included amongst the initiators were Wizek Frenkel, Tonia Turner (both of whom were killed) and Riwa Fefer-Tabacznik (active in the workers council in Israel), Chaim Wolgryn and others.

The club center was located in the home of the well-known philanthropist, Chaim Szajn in Malachowskiego Street, who transferred a wing of his home for the use by the organization because of his fondness of young people (he was childless) and with an aim that they would be educated towards Zionism and the Land of Israel.

When the delegates returned from the national conference of the “Hashomer Hatzair”, that took place in Warsaw in 1927, we were paled by their report that the movement was becoming more leftist and its political orientation was of the “Artzi” Kibbutz movement in the Land of Israel.

Seeing that the branch in Bedzin did not accept the new direction of the movement, the members decided to break off contacts with the central movement and disassociate from the movement.

The organization remained independent for two years without contact with any other group, since there wasn't a second scout's federation in Poland, as yet. The General Zionist were pleased with the severance and encouraged the youths to continue on, since the center in Warsaw was organizing a “Hashomer” movement union, that would be founded on the pedestals of pure Zionist ideology.

In the meantime, a scout movement by the name of “Hashomer Hatahor” [The pure guard] had been organized in Galicia, which was led by Dr. Ben Shem (Feldshu, who today lives in Israel), and who visited our city on movement matters. The organization in Bedzin decided, after extensive clarifications to make contact with this movement, and to take on its ideological discipline.

“Hashomer Hatahor” began spreading out through Galicia as the “Hanoar Haivri” [The Hebrew Youth], and in Congressional Poland caught on as “Hashomer Haleumi” [“The National Guard”], in 1929. The organization in Bedzin made contact with the main leadership of the “Hashomer Haleumi” in Warsaw.

During this same period there was a Zionist youth organization called “Herzliya”, whose members were students of the gymnasia and there activities were carried out in Polish, however their goal was to introduce Hebrew into their ranks. Amongst the “Herzliya” activists, I will note Ziga Grundman, Refael Pucz, Sara Londner-Kulka, Zuzka Orbach-Zum, Bela Epsztajn-Ben Tiqwa (all of them in Israel) and many more who are no longer alive.

“Herzliya” was a national movement and incorporated many centers and to its credit were welcome activities amongst the academic youth.

In the years 1931-32, the “Hanoar Hivri”, “Hashomer Haleumi” and “Herzliya” movements united into one movement that had a marked influence amongst the youth and was known as the national scouts organization “Hanoar Hazioni” [Zionist Youth].

The branch of “Hanoar Hazioni” in Bedzin, was composed of three levels: “Kfirim” [young lions], “Zofim” [scouts] and “Kshishim” [the seniors] – and began operating with renewed strength and enterprise in all fields, and numbered a hundred disciplined and well-organized members. The members were active in all the Zionist institutions and national funds.

There was Zionist education and cultural activities. Every year, during Hanukkah, there were community parties, which drew large crowds.

Bed-292.jpg [29 KB] - "Hanoar Hazioni"
“Hanoar Hazioni” [Young Zionists]
Standing from right to left:
Naftali Zachar (Bialka), Shoshana Zbirowska, Israel Gelbard,
Zosia Orbach (Zum), Dov Gutman, Fruma Tuchsznajder-Horowicz,
Berel Pungat, Josef Kraner, Szlomo Hercberg, Israel Diamant,
Israel Groswald.
Yeheskiel Kraner, Hava Wekselman (Kozlowski), Genia Tornhajm,
Mosze Rubin, Bela Epsztajn (Ben Tiqwa), Yehoshua Kaminski,
Malka Gutensztajn (Szapira), Basia Szif.

[Page 293]

Every year, as part of the scouting education there were summer camps organized in the Baskid Mountains or in other villages in the Kielce district. In the main, the two younger levels participated in these summer camps under the supervision of the seniors, however the juniors participated the camp management and arrangements.

“Hanoar Hazioni” obligated its members to carry out “hachshara” [training for living in Israel] and to go and live in Israel. The movement was not related to “Hechalutz” [The pioneer] that was influenced by the Israeli Workers' movement but to the General Zionists “Hechalutz”, that had a number of training “kibbutzim”.

Graduates of “Hanoar Hazioni” recall the marvel of the festival that took place in December 1935 in the “Novosci” Theater to celebrate their flag inauguration, a celebration that has yet to be forgotten. This was a Zionist activity in the town that took place on rare occasions. Dr. Icchak Szwarcbart from Krakow, who was former world president of the General Zionists, delivered a speech during this celebration. During his captivating speech he said, amongst other things “If we have Jewish youth that is willing to hold up the Zionism flag with pride and is willing to follow after it, be what may, then our future is safe and the Land of Israel will be built.” At the end of the formal part of the program a cultural program, with the center's orchestra, took place.

Activities carried on till the outbreak of war and did not cease, even during the time of crisis in the underground, in which members of the “Hanoar Hazioni” were active together with the other youth organizations. Amongst these were Israel Diamant and the brothers, Ben Zion and Urzriel Koczak – (perished).

Amongst the active graduates of “Hanoar Hazioni” were Mosze Baum, Gizel Bryner, Mosze Horowicz, Shoshana Tuchsznajder-Bryner, Adla Sendiszew-Taler, Towa Frydberg-Baum, Zvi Frydler (Shalev), Gerszon Fryberg, Nehama Strochlic-Frajberg, Szajndl Rotenberg (all of them in Israel), Yehezkiel Gutman, Mosze Suszek, Yehezkiel Kerner (perished) and others.

Amongst the students of “Hanoar Hazioni” I will note Dr. Yeshua Prawer (professor in a Jerusalem college), Attorney Ben Tov (Arie Hessenberg) (graduate of the Law faculty in the Hebrew University, and member of the parliamentary center of the progressive party in Israel), Yoshua Kaminski Efron (a lecturer in the Kibbutz Seminar), Szymon Fefer, Naftali Bilko-Zahar, Olek Gutman, Szalom Hercberg, Tosia Hercberg-Gutman, Karola Baum, Bat-Sheva Jungster (all of them in Israel).

Bed-293.jpg [30 KB] - A group of "Hanoar Hazioni" activists
A group of “Hanoar Hazioni” activists
Standing from right to left:
Mosze Soszek, Malka Oksenhendler, Riwa Zygrajch,
Regina Fefer-Tabacznik, Gosia Rotenberg, Manya, Dora Wolgrun.
Edzia Stern, Shoshana Tuchsznajder-Bryner, Eda Sendiszew-Taler,
Ester Sztorner, Mosze Baum, Sara Soszek, Lola Friedrich,
Hana Wilder-Malach.

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