Page 119 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 25

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A b r a m o w i c z
—YIVO
L i b r a r y
Zydowskiej
(Wilno, 1882) to the hostile and brutal attacks of
Ignacy Grabowski
W Sprawie Zydowskiej: N iew dzieczn i Goscie
(Warsaw, 1912) and Boguslaw Miedzinski
Uwagi o Sprawie
Zydowskiej, Wraz z Uchwalami R ady N aczelnej OZN
(Warsaw,
1938). The necessity to defend the rights and interests of the Jew-
ish population against the rising tide of anti-Semitism largely
determined the activities of Jewish communal and political lead-
ers. The YIVO library has such important documents of the
period as
Materials on the Jewish Question in Poland
and
The
Bolshevist Invasion and the Jews,
both by Isaac Griinbaum (War-
saw, 1921,1922), speeches of Jewish representatives in the Polish
parliament collected and published in book form by their authors,
and the bulletin published by the Jewish National Council, an
organization formed by Jewish representatives in parliament.
Part of this defense action was carried on abroad by the Comite
des Delegations Juives which was active in the years 1919-36.
The YIVO library contains all of its memoranda and the reports
it submitted to the League of Nations and to other international
bodies. The struggle for the right of the Jews to exist on Polish
soil produced also a literature designed to prove the successful
integration of Jews into Polish life and their contributions to its
welfare. As an example we cite Janusz Konrad Urbach’s
The
Participation of Jews in the Struggle for Polish Independence
(Warsaw, 1938), and Mateusz Mieses’
Christian Poles of Jewish
Origin
(Warsaw, 1938). The anti-Jewish camp pursued similar
research but with a different purpose in mind; as witness Ludwik
Korwin’s
The Mosaic N o b i l i ty
(Krakow, 1938), a biographical
dictionary in which the author isolated Polish nobility of “im-
pure” origin.
It is one of the miracles of Jewish history that the difficult,
often malevolent conditions in which Jews existed, did not pre-
vent their developing a rich social and cultural life. Such was
the situation in prewar Poland. The YIVO library possesses rec-
ords of activities of numerous Jewish organizations in Poland
which sprang up to deal with the needs and problems of the
impoverished and harassed Jewish population in that country.
In this category belong the records of the Jewish co-operatives, and
other organizations: Centos Association of Societies for Child
Protection and Care of Orphans; Toz, a society to protect the
health of Jews; Wuzet, an organization to develop vocational
education among Jews; Tor, a society to settle Jews on the soil.
There were networks of Jewish schools of disparate affiliations,
from secularist to religious, from Yiddishist to Hebraist and as-
similationist, which recorded their activities and achievements in
reports and periodicals. There were, finally, labor and union
groups with their own periodicals and with other occasionally
published literature. All these materials represent Polish Jewry;
combined with the regular press organs published in Yiddish,