In 1938, by decree of the president of the Republic of Poland, all 10 B’nai B’rith Lodges were closed down. This differs from the rest of Europe where lodges were shut during World War II, after the Nazi takeover, as part of the German attempt to destroy the Jewish nation.
But finally after nearly 70 years, on September 9, B’nai B’rith International leaders from around the world came to Poland to revive the Warsaw Lodge.
“The pride emanating from the crowd of 37 new brothers and sisters, as they became part of our world-wide family, was exhilarating,” said B’nai B’rith International President Moishe Smith. “It was a proud and honorable moment for me, personally, and for all of B’nai B’rith.”
Members of B’nai B’rith Europe, and several leaders from B’nai B’rith International in Washington, D.C., including Executive Vice-President Daniel S. Mariaschin, attended the installation.
“The launch of our new lodge in Warsaw carries great significance,” Mariaschin said. “Given B’nai B’rith’s long, but interrupted history in Poland, the country’s relationship to both the U.S. and Israel bi-laterally, and as a member of the European Union, and the revival of Jewish life there, the new lodge can act as an important participant in a wide range of issues on the B’nai B’rith, and broader Jewish agenda.”
It has been a long hard struggle to revive the lodge in Poland. Lodge President, Dr. Andrej Friedman, and the Secretary General, Malka Kafka, were able to succeed in their endeavors only through the strong support of the B’nai B’rith Europe and international parent organizations.
“As president of B’nai B’rith Europe, I think it shows, joyfully, that Jewish life in Poland is present and growing,” said B’nai B’rith Europe President Reinhold Simon. “The presence of a B’nai B’rith lodge is also for B’nai B’rith Europe, an important fact. We in B’nai B’rith Europe, have been working on this for more then 10 years. The new board members are ready to enlarge their presence and we hope to see, in the future, new lodges throughout Poland.”
Some of the visiting dignitaries of B’nai Brith International with the leaders of the newly-revived Polish B’nai B’rith Lodge.
About 250 people attended the celebration at the Hotel Intercontinental in Warsaw. Among the attendees were Rabbi Michael Schudrich, Chief Rabbi of Poland and David Peleg, Israel Ambassador to Poland.
The reception was catered by Pinchas Tzioni who came to Poland from Israel a few months ago and started a catering business. He offers delicious Glatt Kosher meals, prepared at the Jewish Community Center in Lodz, which can be delivered anywhere in the country for groups and individuals.
Founded in 1843, B’nai B’rith International is universally recognized as one of the world’s largest and oldest Jewish human rights, community action, and humanitarian organizations. A constant source of innovation and charity for populations around the world. B’nai B’rith has founded hospitals, orphanages, senior housing communities, disaster relief campaigns, libraries, anti-hate programs, and countless other initiatives in the public interest.
B’nai B’rith is also a tireless advocate for Israel and the Diaspora in a variety of governmental and political arenas. With more than 180,000 members and affiliates, in more than 50 countries, B’nai B’rith spans the globe in its efforts to improve conditions for Jewish communities and their inhabitants.