According to the census under the heading: Schools in the Republic of Poland in the school year 1930/1931 (Warsaw 1933), most numerous type of school in Warsaw was the junior school. It is worth emphasizing that both primary and Jewish religious schools were in this group.

The primary schools during the Poland’s partition period formed the lowest level. The smallest of them - operating mainly in remote villages - had only one classroom for all children, regardless of their age. In larger localities, there were more complex structures, for instance composed of two or four grades, while the full curriculum was thought in seven-grade schools. Although in Warsaw this type of education was more developed, the striking phenomenon was one of ‘assembling’ many public schools under one roof. For example, in the now non-existent school building in Prague, at 17 Szeroka Street, there were as many as four primary schools: No. 49, 51, 68 and 91. This could result, to some degree, from the ongoing division into male and female schools.

A specific Jewish lower-level institution was one marked in the Schools in the Republic of Poland in the school year 1930/1931 census as “ż. rel.” (żydowskie religijne - Jewish religious). In many cases they can be surely identified with cheders, that is private or social religious schools, which by the efforts of teachers called melamades provided education at an elementary level, preparing in the sphere of religious education for further studies in yeshiva and for learning a trade.

There were also Talmud-Torah schools, that is religious primary schools intended for children who could not afford to pay for schooling provided by melameds (this concerned in particular the poorest and the orphans). Present in Warsaw from the mid-nineteenth century, Talmud-Torah were originally a sort of free of charge cheders, with the same curriculum and methodology, differing from other institutions of this type only by the fact that melamed was paid by the community or a social organization. However, with time, being under the control of communities, where enlightenment, emancipation, assimilation and national trends were intermingling, they enriched their program with the so-called secular subjects (calligraphy and reading in Hebrew, arithmetic, and from 1858, writing and reading in Polish, then from 1912 also Yiddish). In contrast to cheders, in Talmud-Torah schools the process of modernizing the teaching methodology was progressing (including wide and bright classrooms, summer holidays, summer camps).

An active animator of the lower primary education in Warsaw was the Jewish community of the capital. According to its report, in 1921 it run 9 Talmud-Torah facilities (officially called elementary schools), with 54 teachers with around 2,000 pupils. The hourly proportions of religious to general education was 29:15 in each class. Religious teaching, also called “Judaic sciences” included: Hebrew with grammar, Yiddish, Bible, Jewish history, Mishnah and religious norms. In the school year 1925/1926, there were 10 community religious schools with 31 branches, where 1262 children were being taught. During this period, the program of secular subjects was expanded to include drawings, singing and gymnastics. In 1930, the community was in charge of the following lower primary schools (street name and number): Czerniakowska 105 (I), Czerniakowska 105 (II), Dzielna 20, Elbląska 21 (I), Elbląska 21 (II), Jagiellońska 28, Nowolipki 68, Szczęśliwa 6, Śliska 28 (I), Śliska 28 (II), Świętojerska 34, and one special school at Śliska 28 Street. Altogether 102 teachers were employed, there were 60 classes with 2,167 pupils, both male and female. In general, the development of municipal schools was directed at transforming them into seven-grade schools, mainly through the gradual opening of higher grades. Numerous social organizations were involved in running the schools at the lower stage of education. These included: Bet Yaakov (female orthodox school organization, since 1935 it had in Warsaw the only secondary trade school in Poland), Chorew (orthodox), CISZO (Yiddish), Szuł-Kułt (Yiddish-Hebrew) and Tarbut (Zionist). 

At the secondary level of education there were junior and upper secondary schools (high schools). In the 1920, this function was performed mainly by all the high schools in their basic, eight-grade, form, attended by students aged 10 to 18. The entry into force of the Act of March 11, 1932 resulted in the formation of a new structure of the education system at this level, with a four-grade junior high school (middle school) from the age of 12 followed by a two-year upper secondary school (high school). The regulation included also the program covering six-grade primary schools. That is why schools that disappeared before 1932 are called “middle school”, and those existing before 1939 – “middle and high school”. The presented model was also subject to the ownership structure. Many educational institutions were of a private or social character, and the recognition of their completion by the educational system depended on the fulfilment of many conditions. For this reason in the descriptions of private secondary schools, we often encounter information on the acquisition and loss of the status of “middle school with the state middle school rights”, “rights with reservation”, etc.

The criterion of “Jewishness” of a given institution ought to be considered. It is certainly imprecise and varied depending on the type of school, it also shows quite fluid at times borderline between the activity of a group of Polish Jews and the activity of the whole society.

The Jewish middle and upper secondary schools were primarily recognized as those in which the personnel featuring in the List of teachers of higher education, secondary and vocational schools, teachers’ seminars and scientific institutions (Warsaw - Lvov 1926) declared predominantly Judaic faith, or those with lessons in Judaic studies (usually the same schools). Of course, there is a question on how to qualify “mixed” schools, but it turns out that there are very few such institutions in the above mentioned list, and almost all institutions can be divided into those with Christian personnel, and those in which the teachers predominantly declared to be the followers of Judaism. The Jewish schools include ex-definitione all institutions that emphasized their Jewishness by their own names, such as Laor, Chawaceles, Mizrachi etc.

Concerning lower primary schools, the list which was based as a rule on the guide under the heading: Schools in the Republic of Poland in the 1930/1931 school year (Warsaw 1933), the religious affiliation of a large group of schools declaring themselves as “ż. rel.” (Jewish religious) is absolutely obvious. On the other hand, the classification of the general primary schools is much more complicated. Here classified as Jewish are those which declared Yiddish or Hebrew as the language of instruction (most often besides Polish), as well as those which among their subjects taught Yiddish or Hebrew. Certainly, this criterion - although the only one to be used without digging through the archives (if they exist) - is unreliable for our purpose, and is not very effective in regards of primary schools located in the so-called northern district of Warsaw, which do not declare Jewish languages among the languages of instruction or languages taught. Such a situation occurs, for example, at 19 Pawia Street, where we have a coeducational primary school with Polish as the language of instruction. This school, neighbouring on all sides with Jewish religious institutions (Pawia Street No. 5, 12, 32, 51), was located in an area where Jews constituted 90.5% of the population (Muranów District, as of January 1, 1938) – must have had Jewish pupils; but from the point of view of our criterion there is no direct proof of this. The analogous situation occurs with schools No. 87 and 100 at 80 Nowolipie Street, No. 71 at 7 Niska Street, No. 9 and 18 at 29 and 40 Nowolipki Street, at 48 Krochmalna Street and at other locations. One should maybe use the locality criterion, but this goes beyond the possibilities of the author of this list.

It is worth noting that the activities of some of these institutions did not end with the German occupation in September 1939. Middle schools and high schools, as a rule, continued to operate in the form of secret group teaching in the area of the Warsaw Ghetto. The last matriculation exam in the high school at the Spójnia Street took place at the beginning of July 1942. The graduates were soon the victims of the massive deportation of Warsaw Jews to the Treblinka German Nazi extermination camp.

Middle schools and high schools

We have relatively more information about these schools thanks to the use of guides. In addition to their addresses, we also have data on subsequent headmasters, staff members along with a division into subjects, student numbers, number of classrooms, their sizes, ownership status, number of hours per week, tuition fees in individual semesters – apart from in the table below, we also posted it in the monographic entries contained under the Education and Culture tab constituting a part of the description of Warsaw. You can also find there information on various well-known figures from the history of Polish Jews, who were involved in teaching, among others, Majer Bałabanie (Ascola), Aleksander Hertz (Jehudyjah, Pryłucka, Rozenfeld), Leopoldz Infeld (Kalecki), Rafael Mahler (Ascola), Emmanuel Ringelblum (Maria Rubinstein-Dickstein middle school), Celina Sunderland (Spójnia, Helena Halpern middle school), Szymon Tenenbaum (Laor), Zdzisław Zmigryder (Łubińskis middle school) and many others. There were also well-known Poles, such as Stefania Sempołowska (Kalecki middle school). When reading the table, one can get surprised by the vast majority of girls’ schools over boys’ schools.

The following data on classes and students come from the 1930/1931 school year; with the exception of schools marked with an asterisk, that is those closed down before 1930 – in that case the data should be dated to 1926. Gender of students: C – co-educational, M – male, F – female.

Item

The last address before 1939

School’s name / Owner

Students’ gender

Number of classes

Number of students

1.      

Bielańska 18

Ewa Szlezynger

F

9

222

2.      

Ceglana 7

Rebeka Perła-Łubińska

F

10

228

3.      

Długa 27

Spójnia

M

10

286

4.      

Długa 29

Sara Pryłucka

F

10

281

5.      

Długa 42

Zofia Rozenfeld

F

8

147

6.      

Długa 50

Fryda Mirlasowa

F

10

263

7.      

Długa 55

Jehudyjah

F

10

266

8.      

Dzielna 20*

Cecylia Brojdo

F

7

80

9.      

Krasińskich square 10

Perła Zaks

F

9

229

10.            

Leszno 14

Jakub Finkel

M

10

279

11.            

Leszno 26

Maria Rubinstein-Dickstein

F

5

107

12.            

Miodowa 1

Magnus Kryński

M

10

326

13.            

Nalewki 2a

Laor

M

9

180

14.            

Nowolipie 3*

Helena Halpern

F

8

109

15.            

Nowolipki 45

Kalecki

F

10

281

16.            

Ogrodowa 27

Chinuch

M

11

402

17.            

Orla 11

Felicja Buka-Cygielsztrajch

C.

8

114

18.            

Prosta 8

Róża Strumpfman

F

6

163

19.            

Przejazd 11

Cecylia Goldman-Landauowa

F

10

216

20.            

Rymarska 12

Teachers Union Society

F

10

363

21.            

Świętojerska 22

Chawaceles

F

8

126

22.            

Tłomackie 11

Ascola

M

9

145

23.            

Twarda 27

Fanny Pozner

F

9

210

24.            

Zielna 27

Helena Paprocka

F

5

130

 

Primary schools

The table includes only those institutions that declared Yiddish or Hebrew as language of instruction or a language that was taught. These are not all primary schools existing within the so-called northern district. The data on gender, classes and students is from the school year 1930/1931; schools with no detailed data are known from the period after 1931, mainly from telephone directories. Gender of students: C – co-educational, M – male, F – female.

Item

The last address before 1939

School’s name / Owner

Students’ gender

Number of classes

Number of students

25.            

Brzeska 10

Tarbut

M

4

69

26.            

Czerniakowska 92

 

F

3

35

27.            

Dzielna 15

 

F

4

105

28.            

Dzielna 20 I

 

F

5

67

29.            

Dzielna 20 II

 

F

5

172

30.            

Dzika 6

 

F

7

246

31.            

Elektoralna 32

Mira Lurie-Szolc

?

?

?

32.            

Gęsia 11

Fajnholc Str.

?

6

?

33.            

Graniczna 6

Madrych Teachers Association

?

?

?

34.            

Karmelicka 11

Ibrijah (Moszek Razwiłowski)

F

4

131

35.            

Karmelicka 29

 

F

7

286

36.            

Krochmalna 36

Nasza Szkoła (Our School)

F

6

206

37.            

Królewska 43

Mizrachi

?

?

?

38.            

Kupiecka 10

 

M

6

218

39.            

Mariańska 6

Dora Feigin-Lurie

M

6

119

40.            

Marszałkowska 95

F Czerniaków, E. Zweibaum

F

6

?

41.            

Miła 2

Ruwin Berman

M

6

163

42.            

Miła 51

 

F

8

371

43.            

Meizelsa 10

Madrych Teachers Association

?

?

?

44.            

Muranowska 16 I

 

F

3

41

45.            

Muranowska 16 II

R. Nachtigall?

F

5

159

46.            

Muranowski square 17

Daat

M

6

?

47.            

Nalewki 2 a

Tarbut

C.

?

?

48.            

Nalewki 17

 

F

4

98

49.            

Nowolipki 30

Daat

M

6

?

50.            

Nowolipie 31

HaShachar

M

7

?

51.            

Nowolipki 22

Tarbut

?

?

?

52.            

Nowolipki 39

Tarbut

F

4

134

53.            

Nowolipki 46

 

M

5

228

54.            

Nowolipki 68 I

Tarbut

F

7

251

55.            

Nowolipki 68 II

Tarbut Ber Borochow School

F

7

267

56.            

Pańska 20

Tarbut

?

?

?

57.            

Rymarska 6

Stanisław Rosenberg

F

7

42

58.            

Rymarska 10

Teachers Union Society

F

?

?

59.            

Rysia 1

Nasza Szkoła (Our School)

?

?

?

60.            

Senatorska 32

Jehudyjah

C.

?

?

61.            

Sienna 38

 

C.

4

89

62.            

Szeroka 22

Tarbut

?

?

?

63.            

Świętojerska 7/9

Matarah

?

?

?

64.            

Świętojerska 16

 

C.

2

38

65.            

Świętojerska 22 I

 

M

4

140

66.            

Świętojerska 22 II

 

C.

6

203

67.            

Świętojerska 36

H. Skała

M

6

169

68.            

Twarda 7

L. Borensztejn

F

?

?

69.            

Twarda 22

 

C.

7

157

70.            

Twarda 35

 

F

7

274

71.            

Zamenhofa 7

M. Jakobsfeldówna

?

?

?

72.            

Zamenhofa 17

A. Kalisz

?

?

?

73.            

Zamenhofa 21

M. Rakocz

?

?

?

74.            

Zamenhofa 39

L. Grünszpan

?

?

?

75.            

Ząbkowska 15 a

Ch. Tumarkin

?

7

?

76.            

Żelazna 27

Private Primary School

M

7

268

77.            

Żelazna 27

Private Primary School

F

4

154

Jewish religious seminars

This very small group includes only institutions that have defined themselves as “Jewish religious seminars”. The gender of students exclusively: M – male.

Item

The last address before 1939

School’s name / Owner

Students’ gender

Number of classes

Number of students

78.            

Gęsia 9

School for teachers of Judaism

M

?

?

79.            

Grzybowska 19

Tachkemoni

M

?

?

80.            

Świętojerska 18

Mesywta

M

?

95

 

Yeshivas

In the category market in the Schools in the Republic of Poland in the school year 1930/1931 census as Jewish religious schools (“ż. rel.”) (Jewish religious) two distinct groups are clearly distinguishable:

  • schools with a large number of classes and students
  • schools having on average 1–3 classes, with ca. 25–30 students in each class.

The second group can probably be identified with cheders. However, in the first group, covering more extended institutions, there can be distinguished:

  • those, which can be verified on the basis of other sources – primarily the Report of the Board of the Jewish Religious Community in Warsaw for the years 1926-1930 (Warsaw 1931) – as Talmud-Torah, maintained by the Warsaw community;
  • female schools which can be verified on the basis of other sources - mainly phone books - as belonging to the Bet Jaakow network and female private religious schools;
  • those that can be additionally differentiated, for example, by an atypical average number of students at school, disproportionately large staff, etc. - perhaps, with a significant margin of error; they can be classified as yeshivas.

For this reason the religious schools have been divided into four tables (“yeshivas”, Talmud-Torah, Bet Jaakow and “cheders”). One must remember about the hypothetical and provisory nature of this division, which probably requires further adjustments. Roman numbers at the addresses refer to the titles of monographic entries under the Education and Culture tub of the Virtual Shtetl website.

Item

The last address before 1939

School’s name / Owner

Students’ gender

Number of classes

Number of students

81.            

Franciszkańska 6

 

M

3

153

82.            

Gęsia 11

 

M

6

245

83.            

Gęsia 45 I

 

M

4

149

84.            

Kępna 4 II

 

M

1

6

85.            

Krochmalna 7 II

 

M

2

40

86.            

Miła 11

B. Mekler

M

4

40

87.            

Miła 15

J. Rusak

M

2

35

88.            

Miła 19

Darchaj Mojam

M

1

15

89.            

Nalewki 19

Amud ha-Tora

M

7

262

90.            

Nowolipki 9

Jesodej Hatora

M

7

298

91.            

Okopowa 9

 

M

4?

174

92.            

Pańska 25

 

M

3

20

93.            

Piękna 42

 

M

5

130

94.            

Prosta 10

Jesodej Hatora

M

7

186

95.            

Rynkowa 1

Tora Wodaat

M

5

121

96.            

Solec 113

 

M

3

66

97.            

Śliska 43

 

M

7

298

98.            

Twarda 14

Mado

M

2

9

99.            

Twarda 16

 

M

5

245

100.       

Zamenhofa 5

Haderech

M

6

?

101.       

Zamenhofa 27

L. Barszcz

M

6

?

 

Talmud-Torah (lower primary community schools)

This group includes institutions listed both in the Schools in the Republic of Poland in the school year 1930/1931, and also on page 90 of the Report of the Board of the Jewish Religious Community in Warsaw for the years 1926-1930 (Warsaw 1931) - as the lower primary schools (former Talmud-Torah schools), maintained by the Warsaw community. There are also those that appear in phone books from the 1930s, as belonging to the Warsaw Jewish community. It is worth paying attention to the schools for girls (F).

Item

The last address before 1939

School’s name / Owner

Students’ gender

Number of classes

Number of students

102.       

Czerniakowska 105

Talmud-Torah of the Jewish religious community

M + F

7

217

103.       

Dzielna 20

Talmud-Torah of the Jewish religious community

M

3

117

104.       

Elbląska 21 I

Talmud-Torah of the Jewish religious community

M

4

116

105.       

Elbląska 21 II

Talmud-Torah of the Jewish religious community

F

4

93

106.       

Jagiellońska 28

Talmud-Torah of the Jewish religious community

M

7

299

107.       

Miła 63

Talmud-Torah of the Jewish religious community

M

7?

331

108.       

Nowolipki 68

Talmud-Torah of the Jewish religious community

M

7?

215

109.       

Nowolipki 76

Talmud-Torah of the Jewish religious community

M

?

?

110.       

Podchorążych 20

Talmud-Torah of the Jewish religious community

M

?

?

111.       

Szczęśliwa 6

Talmud-Torah of the Jewish religious community

M

8

314

112.       

Śliska 28

Talmud-Torah of the Jewish religious community

M

11

445

113.       

Świętojerska 34

Talmud-Torah of the Jewish religious community

M

8

326

114.       

Twarda 4

Talmud-Torah of the Jewish religious community

M

?

?

 

Bet Jaakow and religious schools for girls

This group includes the orthodox female schools of the Bet Yaakov network and schools from the “ż. rel.” (Jewish religious) category with a gender of students specified as female. The primarily source was the list Schools in the Republic of Poland in the school year 1930/1931.

 Item

The last address before 1939

School’s name / Owner

Students’ gender

Number of classes

Number of students

115.       

Ciepła 7

W. Goldberg

F

2

36

116.       

Ciepła 10 appartment 5

M. Jelima

F

4

36

117.       

Franciszkańska 11

 

F

4

51

118.       

Nalewki 37

Beit Yaakov

F

6

386

119.       

Targowa 66 m. 12

Beit Yaakov

F

4

130

120.       

Zamenhofa 22

Beit Yaakov

F

?

?

121.       

Ząbkowska 9

Beit Yaakov

F

6

?

Cheders

This group includes small religious schools with an average of 1-2 classes and ca. 25-30 students in each class, recorded in the Schools in the Republic of Poland in the school year 1930/1931 list.

Item

The last address before 1939

School’s name / Owner

Students’ gender

Number of classes

Number of students

122.       

Chłodna 66

 

M

1

35

123.       

Dzielna 17

 

M

2

51

124.       

Dzielna 29

 

M

3

55

125.       

Dzielna 47

 

M

3

50

126.       

Dzika 17

 

M

4

131

127.       

Dzika 26

 

M

2

46

128.       

Dzika 27 I

 

M

1

35

129.       

Dzika 27 II

 

M

1

28

130.       

Dzika 38 I

 

M

2

50

131.       

Dzika 38 II

 

M

2

55

132.       

Dzika 38 III

 

M

1

28

133.       

Dzika 39

 

M

2

40

134.       

Dzika 46 I

 

M

4

79

135.       

Dzika 46 II

 

M

2

65

136.       

Dzika 73 I

 

M

1

30

137.       

Dzika 73 II

 

M

4

102

138.       

Franciszkańska 6

 

M

3

153

139.       

Franciszkańska 24

 

M

1

40

140.       

Franciszkańska 26

 

M

3

68

141.       

Freta 25

 

M

3

67

142.       

Gęsia 45 I

 

M

4

149

143.       

Gęsia 45 II

 

M

2

57

144.       

Grójecka 11

 

M

1

25

145.       

Grójecka 66

 

M

3

77

146.       

Grzybowska 14 I

 

M

3

79

147.       

Grzybowska 14 II

 

M

4

60

148.       

Grzybowska 15

 

M

2

56

149.       

Grzybowska 22

 

M

3

80

150.       

Jagiellońska 36

 

M

2

60

151.       

Karmelicka 16

 

M

2

65

152.       

Karmelicka 17

 

M

2

40

153.       

Kaszubska 7

 

M

4

100

154.       

Kępna 4 I

 

M

1

28

155.       

Krochmalna 7 I

 

M

2

50

156.       

Krochmalna 25

 

M

2

60

157.       

Łucka 25

 

M

1

29

158.       

Mariańska 9 / 2

B. Portugał

M

2

80

159.       

Meizelsa 5

B. Herszman

?

?

?

160.       

Meizelsa 14

Sz. Lankier

?

?

?

161.       

Miła 21

 

M

2

40

162.       

Miła 23

M. Ajzler

M

2

33

163.       

Miła 61

 

M

2

38

164.       

Miła 67

 

M

2

50

165.       

Muranowska 5

Sz. Goldberg

M

2

30

166.       

Muranowska 32

 

M

1

20

167.       

Nadwiślańska 5

 

M

2

30

168.       

Niska 37

 

M

3

84

169.       

Nowolipie 28

 

M

2

48

170.       

Nowolipie 33

 

M

3

72

171.       

Nowolipie 58

 

M

2

40

172.       

Nowolipki 24

 

M

4

102

173.       

Nowolipki 42

 

M

3

111

174.       

Pańska 15 I

 

M

1

12

175.       

Pańska 15 II

 

M

1

38

176.       

Pańska 28

 

M

1

45

177.       

Pańska 38

 

M

4

93

178.       

Pańska 64

 

M

3

67

179.       

Pańska 84 I

 

M

1

24

180.       

Pańska 84 II

 

M

1

12

181.       

Pańska 95

 

M

2

40

182.       

Pawia 5

 

M

3

60

183.       

Pawia 12

 

M

4

80

184.       

Pawia 32

 

M

3

55

185.       

Pawia 51

 

M

3

74

186.       

Puławska 36

 

M

2

63

187.       

Radzymińska 21

 

M

1

20

188.       

Sapieżyńska 17

 

M

1

39

189.       

Sapieżyńska 21

 

M

1

30

190.       

Skórzana 6

 

M

1

25

191.       

Smocza 22

 

M

1

30

192.       

Smocza 27

Sz. Kossower

M

1

32

193.       

Solec 113

 

M

3

66

194.       

Śliska 43

 

M

7

298

195.       

Śliska 54

 

M

1

25

196.       

Śliska 60

 

M

2

55

197.       

Śliska 62

 

M

1

30

198.       

Wolska 129

 

M

3

99

199.       

Wołyńska 10

 

M

2

80

200.       

Ząbkowska 15a

 

M

3

86

201.       

Zielna 28

 

M

2

41

202.       

Zimna 3

 

M

1

47

203.       

Żelazna 37

 

M

2

56

 

Other details about all of the described institutions, including sources from which the data come from, can be found under the Education and Culture tab (in Polish), constituting a part of the description of Warsaw.

Adam Dylewski