Jewish community life in Lublin after 1944
After the liberation in July 1944 Jewish social life in Lublin was gradually reviving, which resulted mostly from the activity of Jewish Committee, that was trying to bring the Jewish life back to the city.
Restoration of the Jewish religious life in Lublin after the war
The idea of organization of Jewish religious life in post-war time in Lublin was a subject to many transformations. In the beginning it was the Jewish Committee in Lublin that was in charge of religious issues, then these competences were included in the activity of CKŻP (Central Committee of Polish Jews), however, already in December 1944 the Department of Religion was liquidated because religion was recognized as a personal issue.
In the beginning of February 1945 Jewish religious association was established, which became later Jewish religious congregations, that were supposed to facilitate freedom of religious practices. Lublin congregation was organized probably already in 1945. Its seat was in 8 Lubartowska Street, in vicinity of the only one synagogue in Lublin - Chewra Nosim - that still exists. Lublin congregation played important role in the organization of the commemorations, Jewish ceremonies and carrying out the so-called “matzah action” (that became a source of conflict with WKŻ – Provincial Jewish Committee).
National Organizational Committee of the congregation attempted to cooperate with CKŻP starting from May 1946 and in the end was incorporated to CKŻP in June 1948. In August 1949 congregations united and Religious Association of the Mosaic Faith in Poland was formed.
Revival of Jewish cultural life in first years after the war
Beginnings of Jewish cultural life in the post-war Lublin were difficult. For obvious reasons Jewish Committee focused on provision of current material needs of rapidly growing community of Lublin. Firstly, there was no Department of Culture at the Committee. With time a Department of History and Culture was created, which after few months was divided into several small sections: Department of Education and Culture, Department of History, Department of Art and Literature.
The undertaking that lasted the longest, however, was the Jewish Historical Commission, that aimed for collecting documents and relations concerning Nazi crimes committed against Jews. It was transformed into Central Jewish Historical Commission, which gave rise to the Jewish Historical Institute, located in Warsaw.
Very soon Jewish press started to come out. The CKŻP almost immediately started to publish Bulletin of Jewish Press Agency. Simultaneously, in 1944 in Lublin a Jewish Association of Writers, Journalists and Artists in Poland was created, that also had in mind publishing a Jewish newspaper in Yiddish. In spite of total lack of technical background “Bulletin” in Yiddish was published every two days, it was hand-written with the carbon paper and was very popular. When creators of the newspaper received an information about the printing house that survived in the Łódź ghetto, the editorial staff and office moved to Łódź.
Cultural events were organized mostly by the Municipal Jewish Committee, Provincial Jewish Committee and political parties. A place of all the cultural events was House of Peretz. In August 1945 a “Week of Majdanek” took place, which environment of Lublin Jews had a particular contribution to, preparing funeral ceremonies of strictly Jewish character, that took place after official, public ceremonies.
Jewish education in Lublin
In years 1945-1949 a Jewish Elementary School in Lublin operated in the building in 3 Wyszyńskiego Street. It was assumed that the language of instruction would be Yiddish but then it was decided, that lessons will be led in Polish. The institution was not big, in the beginning it counted 68 students, but quite soon decreased to 32 people. School was liquidated in the middle of 1949.
Jewish children and orphans care in post-war Lublin
In the end of 1944 the Jewish Committee in Lublin established Jewish Orphanage in 3/7 Radziwiłłowska Street. Initially there were 28 children there, but later also children from the shelter in Wyszyńskiego Street and those, found in houses of Lublin, were moved there. In the end of February 1945 there were 130 children in the orphanage, and in consequence the institution was transferred to the local in 60 Krakowskie Przedmieście Street and renamed Orphanage No. 5. In the local in Radziwiłłowska Street a dormitory for elder boys was left. At the beginning of March care of newly established WKŻ was extended over this institution. In result of steadily decreasing number of Jaws in the city as well as growing financial problems the orphanage was moved to Rychbach (Dzierżoniów) on 1st August 1945. There, 126 children and 10 people of staff were placed in an orphanage newly arranged by Jewish Committee.
Commemoration of the victims of extermination – a monument of "Victims of the Ghetto" in Lublin
The monument of ”Victims of the Ghetto” was unveiled on 10th November 1963, on 20th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lublin ghetto. It was placed in the area of former market square between Lubartowska Street and Świętoduska Street.
The monument was created due to the initiative of Jews of Lublin, its main inspirers were Izydor Sznajdman and dr Symcha Wajs. Also Paweł Dąbek, a president of Provincial National Council and a former prisoner of the Majdanek camp, contributed greatly to the creation of the monument. It is dedicated to the Jews of the city and region of Lublin. Every year on 9th November flowers were put here on the anniversary of the final liquidation of the ghetto.
In 2007 the monument was moved to the square on Niecała Street, near Elementary School No. 24.
Edited and translated by Magdalena Dziaczkowska