The Landsmanshaft of Lublin Jews
In result of the World War II, many people found themselves in territories distant from their original place of residence. In order to maintain ties connecting them with the pre-war local society, the idea of landsmanshaftn, that would associate inhabitants of one locality or region, spread across the whole Poland, was born. The idea of creating a national organization, associating inhabitants of Lublin from before the 1939 period, originated among several activists related to the Provincial Jewish Committee in Lublin already in June 1946, and was implemented quite soon, in December 1946.
Lublin Landsmanshaft in years 1946-1949
Committee of Jewish Compatriots from Lublin in Poland was one of many local organizations of that type, subordinated to the Department of Landsmanshaft at the Central Committee of Jews in Poland, located in Warsaw, but with the difference, that its idea was born before instructions were sent to the local Jewish Committees, referring to the possibility of creation of landsmanshaftn. In spite of the first resistance of WKŻ, which was afraid to loose its influence, on 11th November 1946 the organization in Lublin was officially established, and a committee to rule the landsmanshaft was chosen. Until spring 1947 the organization managed to get in touch with strong landsmanshaftn of Lublin Jews in Wrocław, Wałbrzych, Warsaw, Dzierżoniów (Rychbach) and Stettin. Contacts were made also with organizations associating Lubliners abroad: in New York, Toronto, Los Angeles, Paris and Palestine.
In May 1947 first National Congress of Lubliners took place in Wrocław, and 37 delegates from landsmashaftn in Poland took part in it. In the end of the Congress participants chose members of the Central Management Board of the Landsmanshaft of Lublin Jews, with the seat in Lublin. These members were: Aron Nisenbaum – Lublin, Majer Szyldkraut – Lublin, Lejzor Fajertag – Lublin, Rajchensztajn – Lublin, Opatowska – Lublin, F. Grojsman – Wrocław, Natan Hercman – Dzierżoniów, dr Tomkin – Wałbrzych, L. Lerer – Łódź, Sz. Herszenhorn – Warsaw.
Next important event was a congress of Lubliners that took place in Lublin on 7th and 8th September 1947. It was the biggest post-war manifestation of Jewish presence in the city, which over 800 people from Poland and over 650 people from abroad, took part in. During the congress there was funeral ceremony in the new Jewish cemetery, during which human remains of 40 people, exhumed from the mass grave in Jakubowice, were buried and a monument on the grave of victims of the Majdan Tatarski transitive ghetto was unveiled. Afterward, a solemn march, formed of the participants, left the cemetery and walked along the Lubartowska Street to the area of former ghetto, where flowers were put. That day finished with a mourning ceremony, in a theatre hall of the House of Peretz, during which a resolution was read, establishing the day of 9th November (the date of the liquidation of the Majdan Tatarski ghetto) day of mourning and remembrance of the Lublin Jews, murdered by Nazis. On the day after participants visited Majdanek and the old Jewish cemetery in Kalinowszczyzna Street.
After this event the Lansmanshaft in Lublin operated for over two years, however it is worth to mention, that only few of its members were active in this period: Aron Nisenbaum, Rozen, Icek Rajchensztajn, Jakub Goldfinger, Aleksander Szryft and Felicja Makower. The last minutes of meeting dates from 13th November 1949. The Lansdmanshaft in Lublin was probably liquidated simultaneously with the suspension of the activity of all the net of institutions subordinated to CKŻP, including the Central Department for Landsmanshaftn.
Jews from Lublin in Israel
Lublin Jewish Organization, called also The Landsmanshaft of Jews of Lublin associates people, who have family connections to the city or region of Lublin, also those who are second or third post-war generation. Its first chairman was Dawid Sztokfisz, next one – Aleksander Szryft. Current president of organization is Joseph Dakar. The seat of the organization is in Tel Aviv, Israel. It aims for the remembrance of the Shoah and history of Jews of Lublin, getting to know the family history and roots. Means used to achieve these goals are: a newspaper “Kol Lublin”, published by the organization and sent to Jewish Lubliners in various countries all over the world, and meetings in Israel which commemorate important events related to the history of Lublin Jews, e.g. on the anniversary of the liquidation of the Majdan Tatarski ghetto.
In Lublin the organization is involved in spreading Israeli contemporary culture and art, for example by promotion of Israeli artists. Starting from 2001 the Landsmanshaft cooperates with the “Grodzka Gate – NN Theatre” Centre.
"Kol Lublin" - annual of the Landsmanshaft of Lublin Jews in Israel
"Kol Lublin" („Voice of Lublin”) is an annual edited and published by Lublin Jewish Organization in Israel. The first issue was published in 1962 as a part of commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the extermination of Jews of Lublin. Newspaper contains articles on culture, language and tradition of Lublin Jewish community. In addition to testimonies of Survivors, articles by Shoah historians are published. First issues of the magazine were published in Yiddish. Currently, first language of the newspaper is Hebrew, and some texts are also translated into English.
Books of Memory - „Sefer Zikkaron Lublin”
Books of Memory were created after the war in order to commemorate Jewish community – inhabitants of concrete cities and towns – which was annihilated in result of the Shoah. It was the initiative of individual landsmanshaftn, both in Israel and in diaspora.
Lublin has two Books of Memory. One of them was published in Paris, in 1952, another "Sefer Zikkaron Lublin" - in 1957, in Tel Aviv. Texts that are included in them have historical, reporting or memoir character and are related to both, the life of Jewish community in Lublin before the war, and the Shoah itself.
Books of Memory are important research material, that presents the story of Jewish population from the Jewish perspective. In 2009 UMCS Publishing House published an anthology of texts taken from the selected Books of Memory, written in various countries and languages about the life and extermination of Polish Jewish community.
Edited and translated by Magdalena Dziaczkowska