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[Page 178]

“Poale Zion” (right wing)
and “Freiheit” in Dąbrowa

by Cwi Kozuch

Translated by Dr. Hannah Berliner Fischthal

The Zionist-Socialist movement in Zagłębie dates its activities to after the first World War with the founding of various groups, such as “Hechalutz,” “Hashachar”, “Poale Zion,” and “Tzirei Zion.”

The goal of the Zionist-socialist minded workers, members of assorted groups, first became crystallized in 1920, after the split of the “Poale Zion” party. That goal was to immigrate to Palestine. Already by 1920 the first Zionist groups in Dąbrowa had left Poland, travelling all routes, to make aliyah to Eretz Israel (the Land of Israel). These included Hersz-Lejb Liberman and later – Barzilay, Jakob Sliwka, Abram Grosfeld, and Jakob Federman. In 1925, when “Poale Zion” (right wing), “Tzirei Zion,” and other Zionist groups united, the foundation of Zionist-socialist activities in Dąbrowa was laid. The founders of the party were Noach Krempl, the brothers Siwek, Josef Izralewicz, Herszl Frajlich, Mordechai Ben Wolf Rozenblum, Pejsach Zygrajch, and others. The top leaders of the youth-party organization “Freiheit” [freedom], which had educated reserves for future party members, were Mosze Szwimer, Herszl Kozuch, and the Wajszalc brothers.

With consolidated work from both Zionist bodies in the areas of culture and socialist and Zionist enlightenment, the party became an important factor in Jewish life in Dąbrowa, resulting in: active participation in elections to the Zionist congress; fundraising; participation in the Palestine workers fund; creating symposiums about worker problems and topical political discussions, led by local friends, such as comrades Szymon Gutman, Abram Tenenbaum, Josef Izralewicz, and others. Visiting us from the “Poale Zion” chapter in Warsaw were comrades Ritow, Rajs, Najtstat and Szpicman.

dab178.jpg [40 KB] - “Freiheit” and “Poale Zion”
The “Freiheit” youth movement with the “Poale Zion” political party in Dąbrowa
[The banner reads: The “Freiheit” should live]

[Page 179]

We created a library in the name of J. Ch. Brener, possessing the newest editions of Jewish and world literature; we created a choir; and we created a dramatic circle under the direction of the artist of the Vilna Troupe, Lewinsztajn. The drama club successfully presented the play “Broken Hearts” by Z. Libin, with the participation of party comrades Chawa Wajszalc, Hilel Zalcberg, Chawa Nachmies, Chana Kuperberg, Dancygier and others.

The participation of the party in the first May Day demonstration, in connection with the Polish Socialist party, resulted in Zionist prestige and influence over Jewish and everyday life in Dąbrowa.

In 1938, when elections were to take place in the Jewish kehila [Jewish community] of Dąbrowa, the party received, besides its limited number votes from the current half-Fascist and anti-Semitic Poland, a mandate in the kehila leadership, obtained with the help of the “Agudah.” Israel Klajman, the candidate of the party, represented its interests in the community. His representative became Lajb Wajszalc in the council. Their representations in both forums, in the spirit of the party, called forth recognition by the workers in Dąbrowa.

With the outbreak of the Second World War, party activities were interrupted. Some of the comrades left the Polish realm, which according to the Soviet-German pact, was incorporated into the Soviet Republic. Few of the comrades I mentioned remained alive. A few survived German concentration camps and are now located in Israel. All the others were cut down together with Dąbrowa Jewry in the Auschwitz death camp.

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