Towarzystwo Przyjaciół Uniwersytetu Hebrajskiego w Jerozolimie

(Pol., Society of Friends of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem) – a social organisation aiming to promote and develop the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. The idea to establish the Society was put forward by Samuel Poznański in 1918. In 1919 a temporary committee was established, but its activities were interrupted by the outbreak of the Polish-Soviet war and then the initiator’s illness. In March 1922, the Society resumed its activities, initially under the name Komitet dla Sprawy Uniwersytetu Hebrajskiego i Biblioteki Narodowej (Committee for the Case of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and the National Library), and then changed its name after the University was established (1925). During the first general meeting in Warsaw on 15 December 1923 Borys Stawski was elected president and retained that function until December 1929. After his death, the position was assumed by Moses Schorr. Activists included Mayer Balaban, Mojżesz Koerner, Borys Chorąży and Michał Peker. The headquarters were located in Warsaw at 26/28 Grzybowska St. whereas major branches were set up in Cracow, Lviv, Łódź, Grodno, Pinsk, Rzeszów and Vilnius. Most members of the society lived in Warsaw. After ten years of existence it was estimated that the society had approx. 700 members in Warsaw and a similar number in other centres. Financial resources came primarily from member contributions and, less frequently, from one-off donations. For instance, Dr. Isaak Gelibter donated a real property on the market square in Zamość to the Society in 1931. The Society accumulated books, bibliographic works, librarianship works and archival works for the University Library. In the course of the initial ten years of activity a total of over 52,000 volumes were gathered, most of which were sent to Jerusalem. At that time the Society received more than 100 large book collections (exceeding 100 volumes), among them Judaism-related libraries from Dr. Józef Chazanowicz and Lejb Dawidson, medical collections from Dr. Izaak Eliasberg and Dr. Tadeusz Rosenfeld, and mathematics collection from Chaim Bornstein and Michał Feldblum. Books were catalogued and marked with an ex libris sign with the name of the donor. The Society raised valuable manuscripts, among them the legacy of rabbi Guttmacher,  Dr. Poznański, Abraham Podliszewski and books (pinkas) of Jewish communes. The Society collected Jewish publications issued in Poland and received complimentary copies of journals from most Jewish editorial houses in Poland, taking care to update the Polish section in the Jerusalem Library. The Society systematically bought books and journals following the guidance of the National Library in Jerusalem and the Hebrew University, it also acted as an intermediary in an exchange of publications between the Hebrew University and Polish cultural and communal institutions. In collaboration with the National Library in Warsaw and the bibliographic quarterly of the Jerusalem Library ‘Kiriat Sefer’, the Society maintained a systematic bibliography of Jewish printed matter in Poland. In 1930 the Fund to Commemorate B. Stawski was established and scholarly awards were granted to students and collaborators of the Hebrew University. The Society also provided information on terms of admission to the Hebrew University and arranged the necessary formalities (e.g. for obtaining a certificate). It promoted the idea of the Hebrew University by organising lectures, publishing announcements in Jewish press and issuing brochures and information leaflets. By the end of 1933 a total of 25 publications in Hebrew, Polish and Yiddish were issued. After Hitler came to power, the Society endeavoured to obtain financial resources to expand the Hebrew University and admit new students and scholars from Germany. After World War II, the Society resumed its operations. At the inaugural banquet in February 1948 Julian Tuwim was elected president. The Society collaborated with JOINT and some Polish institutions, e.g. the Academy of Learning, the Poznań Society of Friends of Sciences. It published a journal entitled ‘Scopus’. The activities of the Society ended around 1950. NATALIA ALEKSIUN

Trawniki – a forced labour camp located south of Lublin, for Soviet prisoners of war and Jews. In the spring of 1942 a group of Jews from Germany, Austria and Czechoslovakia were incarcerated there and murdered later in Belzec. Towards the end of the same year a broom factory from Międzyrzec Podlaski was moved to Trawniki; in 1943 the Fritz Schulz sewing and fur-making shops from Warsaw were also relocated there. Among Jews brought from the Warsaw ghetto was E. Ringelblum and 33 members of the Jewish Combat Organisation. The Trawniki production plant worked for Wehrmacht (May–October 1943), and Dutch Jews as well as Jews from Białystok, Mińsk and Smoleńsk were incarcerated there during that time. The camp was liquidated on H. Himmler’s instruction given on 5 November 1943, within Aktion Erntefest. A total of approx. 10,000 Jews were murdered there. 

Natalia Aleksiun

Za: Tomaszewski J., Żbikowski A., Żydzi w Polsce. Dzieje i kultura. Leksykon, Warszawa 2001. 

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