AKIVA - (Agudat HaNoar HaIvri Akiva, the “Akiva” Union of Jewish Youth) – a Zionist youth organisation established in 1934, with a general Zionist profile and close ties to the Et Liwnot faction. It had the strongest influences in Galicia, especially in Cracow, yet it also had centres in territories formerly under Russian rule. Along with Hashomer Hatzair, Gordonia and other smaller groups, it was part of a minority group within HeHalutz, opposing the unification of Zionist youth organisations.  During its work with the Jewish youths, Akiva relied on scouting methods. Young people were taught first aid, geography of Palestine, the Hebrew language as well as Jewish history and literature. Akiva also organised agricultural courses to prepare young people to work in Palestine. In comparison with the general Zionist youth organisation HaNoar HaTzioni, Akiva attached greater importance to tradition and religious regulations. Young people could only obtain full membership of the organisation after their 18th birthday.  Akiva supported actions carried out by Zionist funds: Keren Kayemet LeYisrael and Keren HaYesod. After the outbreak of World War II, its members actively participated in the underground movement, also in ghettos. Their activities included publishing various newspapers as well as participation in the efforts aimed at the establishment of ŻOB (Jewish Combat Organisation) in the Warsaw ghetto. After the war, Akiva renewed its activity in Poland as HaNoar HaTzioni Akiva, with close ties to the Ichud party.

Natalia Aleksiun

Quoted after: Tomaszewski J., Żbikowski A., Żydzi w Polsce. Dzieje i kultura. Leksykon. [Jews in Poland – Their History and Culture. A Lexicon.], Warsaw 2001. 

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