Public affairs between two World Wars

During the 30s the influence of the “Bund” strengthened among unions at the expense of the Communist Party. During this period, internal struggles among needle workers between supporters of the “Bund” and supporters of “Poalei Zion” has increased. After the death of the leader Sloshni, “Bund” activists tried to take over the organization. The dispute ended in a split – one Union of workers and apprentices numbered 400 members, was under the influence of “Poalei Zion”, and the other one, of craftsmen – numbered about 100 members and was influenced by “Bund”. Quite often disputes broke out between members of the “Bund” and the members of the PPS , and in 1927 the Polish workers refused to march on May 1st along with members of the “Bund”, arguing that it could harm them in the upcoming elections to the City Council.

In the early 20s the “Folkists” were very influential in Siedlce. In 1922, on the eve of the elections to the Sejm, Rabbi Leon Ginzburg, the community rabbi leashed an offensive against the leader of the “Folkists” – Noah Frilotzki , whose supporters distributed leaflets in the city claiming the rabbi support their party. Rabbi Ginzburg called for Jews to support the minority bloc of Itzhak Grinboim, and indeed 7,852 Jews from Siedlce voted for this bloc and only 763 voted for the “Bund”. Another 405 voted for the “Folkists”. In the 1927 elections to the city council, the Jews won 10 seats. Six of them went to the “General Zionists”, two – to the “Bund” and two – to “Poalei Zion Left”. During the election of 1928 to the Sejm a fight broke out between supporters of the “Bund” and supporters of the Zionist parties. Polish police intervened and arrested three members of the “Bund”.

Zionist activity resumed in Siedlce in the early 20s. In 1920 and the following year the town hosted two regional conferences of the General Zionist Organization and “Zeirei Zion”.

Party Name









Al Ha’Mishmar

Et Kivnot




Poalei Zion – Zionist Socialists

Labor Eretz-Israel bloc

Poalei Zion  left

















Zionist congresses Siedlce’s Elections’ results 

Even “Ha’Mizrahi” organized and established a branch of the “Young Mizrahi”, and in 1923, a fundraising  event for raising Zionist “Shekel” occurred in Siedlce. 153 million marks were collected, which gave 995 Jews voting rights in the Zionist Congress held in the same year. In the early 30s the city’s Zionists established the “Herzl Academy”. This academy was the conceptual stage where meetings and lectures were held with the participation of leaders of the Zionist movement in Poland.

“Ha’Halutz” movement began operating in Siedlce in 1918. The members of the movement, failing their attempts to get a job at the nearby Jewish farmers, decided to buy a farm in the area. In 1919 the Brothers Bunem and Berl Wayman donated a plot of land they owned, and established a training farm for “Ha’Halutz”. In 1923, the movement in Siedlce numbered 35 members, and another 115 were members of “Ha’Halutz Ha’Zair”.

About 30 of them immigrated to Eretz-Israel during these years. “Ha’Halutz Ha’Mizrahi” and a small group of “Ha’Halutz Ha’Merkazi” were also active in Siedlce. The city also served as a regional center of the “Ha’Shomer Ha’Zair”, and in 1930 five regional summer camps of the movement was held, with hundreds of children and teenagers. A branch of “Beitar” movement and other youth organizations affiliated with the Revisionist movement were also active in the city.

Community life, undermined during the first years following the war, stabilized and organized in the mid-20s. Community’s revenues in 1923 were about 70 million Marks and expenses came to 61 million Marks. Main spending items were the orphanage and home for the elderly, established before the war.

In 1926, elections were held for the Community Council. The 20 seats were distributed between “Agudat Israel” (10 delegates), the Zionist party (4), the Craftsmen party (4), the “Folkists” (1) and “Mizrahi” (1). Each of the two candidates for the position of Chairman, journalist and Zionist activist Yitzhak Nahum Weintroib, and Yaacov Sche’ranski of “Agudat Israel”, has won the support of members of the Board. Therefore a lottery was held and the candidate of “Agudat Israel” was selected.

One of the most important activities of the new community council was expanding the orphanage “Orphans Aid”. 54 thousand Zlotys were collected for this purpose, and in 1927 the new building was inaugurated, with room for 70 children. Initially, the institution enjoyed the municipality’s support, but after a few years difficulties rose. In the 30s, the city reduced the appropriations, and the institution debts accumulated to tens of thousands of zlotys.

In 1925, two Jews founded the company “Bethlehem”, distributed bread and Challa for the Sabbath to the needy. In 1926, a branch of “TAZ” – Jewish health organization in Poland founded in Siedlce, which dealt with school children and operated camps during the summer. In 1932 the Jewish hospital was put under “TAZ” and the organization purchased new equipment and instruments. The hospital was financed by “TAZ” (40%), the community (30%) and city authorities. Even the home for the elderly had expanded and had a new building added, acquired thanks to the contribution of a local Jew. In the mid-30s the institution’s condition deteriorated and due to budgetary difficulties was unable to employ skilled team of therapists. The inmates’ relatives appealed to organizations in Warsaw requesting financial aid for the institution, but their efforts have not led to a substantial improvement.

In the early 30s the influence of “Agudat Israel” on the leadership of the community has decreased. In the election of 1931 the “Aguda” received only 3 seats, while the Zionist party, the craftsmen party and the independent party received four seats each, and “Mizrahi” got two seats. In 1936, the last elections for the community council (headed by Yitzhak Nahum Weintroib) were held. The results of the elections showed a strengthening of workers’ parties: Zionists had three representatives, “Agudat Israel” – 4, the “Bund” – 3, “Poalei Zion” – 2 and “Mizrahi” and the butchers’ party – one representative each. When the Nazis rose to power in Germany in 1933, the leadership of the community decided to join a boycott of German goods.

Written by Yitzhak Caspi in the book: “Ancestors Tell Siedlce”.
Translated from Hebrew by Mr. Yuval Romano.