Jewish political activity developed at the turn of the 20th century. The first Zionist grouping was established between 1897 and 1898 with one of its leaders being the young Hebrew teacher Chaim Nachman Bialik. Soon after, a strong left wing emerged represented by the Bund and Poalei Zion, which were particularly active between 1906 and 1908. Maccabi, a zionist sporting organisation was established in 1916[1.1].

SZionists also dominated the inter-War period. Following W. Żabotyński's visit in 1927, Betar was established, the membership of which rapidly grew to around 200. A lecture by Chaim Nachman Bialik, in 1931, attracted an audience of over 3,000. Maccabi also had a strong membership. In 1926, it had a membership of 600 and, in 1932, it sent as large representation to the Maccabiah in Palestine. While strong throughout Poland, the conservative element was somewhat weaker in Sosnowciec and was centred around the Beit Yakov girls school which had 300 students[1.1.1].

With regards to social welfare, at the end of of the 19th century, the Jewish Community Council established the Kasa Dobroczynna (Charitable Fund). Its main aim was to help women suffering from illnesses due to childbirth. Many wealthy Sosnowiec Jews were benfactors. In 1902, the merchant Genrich Elionor Rajcher offered 10,000 rubles to "Tomchei Anijim”, an organisation helping the poor. Linat Ha-Tzedek, a hospice for the poorest, was opened in 1907. Thanks to a foundation set up by Dr. Abram Perlman, a Jewish hospital opened its doors on 30th May 1912 (today, the site is occupied the Kolejowy Hospital on ul. Konrada). In 1933, the hospital was expanded to 90 beds and and aged care for 40 people was also established. Social welfare activity continued after 1945. Between 1946 and 1947, Sosnowiec had a Jewish orphanage and a workers canteen[1.2].

Print
Footnotes
  • [1.1] Sosnowiec, [w:] The Encyclopedia of Jewish Life Before and During the Holocaust, Ed. S. Spector, G. Wigoder, Vol. 3, New York 2001, p. 1220.
  • [1.1.1] Sosnowiec, [w:] The Encyclopedia of Jewish Life Before and During the Holocaust, Ed. S. Spector, G. Wigoder, Vol. 3, New York 2001, p. 1220.
  • [1.2] Żydzi w Zagłębiu Dąbrowskim i okolicy, Ed. B. Ciepiela, Będzin 2004, pp. 31–321; Sosnowiec Encyclopaedia of Jewish Communities in Poland, t. 7: Poland, [w:] JewishGen [online] http://www.jewishgen.org/yizkor/pinkas_poland/pol7_00327.html [accessed: 14.09.2014].