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October 21, 2014 / 27 Tishri, 5775
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B’nai B’rith International Revives Lodge In Poland

        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.

 

        www.bnaibrith.org

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Arnold Fine 2008

I REMEMBER WHEN I first started working at the Jewish Press 18 years ago, Arnie who was in charge of the newsroom, took me under his wing…

The official beginning of World War II was September 1, 1939. On that day German soldiers invaded Gdansk after bombarding the city with a military warship. As part of the Polish Government’s official series of events marking seven decades since the start of World War II, Poland’s Jewish community and the Jerusalem-based “Shavei Israel” organization held a special ceremony yesterday in the Gdansk synagogue to commemorate the outbreak of the war, which paved the way for the Holocaust.

The official beginning of World War II was September 1, 1939. On that day German soldiers invaded Gdansk after bombarding the city with a military warship. As part of the Polish Government’s official series of events marking seven decades since the start of World War II, Poland’s Jewish community and the Jerusalem-based “Shavei Israel” organization held a special ceremony yesterday in the Gdansk synagogue to commemorate the outbreak of the war, which paved the way for the Holocaust.

September 1, 1939 is the date on which Germany invaded Poland, starting WWII. While it should be said that the start of the war was not the start of the Shoah, which actually began with the rise of Nazism in 1933, it was a major milestone in the annals of the Holocaust. Within the first few days of the war, Germany had conquered and/or bombed much of Poland, including the capital, Warsaw.

September 1, 1939 is the date on which Germany invaded Poland, starting WWII. While it should be said that the start of the war was not the start of the Shoah, which actually began with the rise of Nazism in 1933, it was a major milestone in the annals of the Holocaust. Within the first few days of the war, Germany had conquered and/or bombed much of Poland, including the capital, Warsaw.

In September 1939 the Germans started establishing ghettos in the occupied territory of Poland. Ghettos played an important role in the Jewish extermination policy. They were filled with Polish and Western European Jewish deportees. The ghettos differed in times of existence, size, internal organization, and living conditions. The Germans called them ” death boxes” (Todeskiste). The city of Lodz belonged to the Wartheland District and the Germans changed its name into Litzmannstadt.

In September 1939 the Germans started establishing ghettos in the occupied territory of Poland. Ghettos played an important role in the Jewish extermination policy. They were filled with Polish and Western European Jewish deportees. The ghettos differed in times of existence, size, internal organization, and living conditions. The Germans called them ” death boxes” (Todeskiste). The city of Lodz belonged to the Wartheland District and the Germans changed its name into Litzmannstadt.

Growing up in the U.S. during the second half of the 20th century, I, along with most people, know very little about the First World War. The little that I did know was about the trench warfare in France and Belgium. The Eastern Front was barely, if ever, mentioned and usually stated that it ended with the Russian Revolution and overthrowing the Czar.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/columns/bnai-brith-international-revives-lodge-in-poland/2007/10/10/

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