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Yad Vashem The Story of the Jewish Community in Mir

The History of the Mir Community Before the Holocaust

Youth Movements and Political Parties

  • Group of "Hechalutz" Haoved
  • "Hechalutz" branch in Mir
  • Gathering cucumbers at the training kibbutz of the "Hechalutz" union in Sokolka, 1934. Second from right – Sima (née Ratner) Hildesheim from Mir
  • Members of the "Hashomer Hatzair" group in Mir. Third row, center – head of the group Reuven Yirmitzki; second row, second from left – Moshe Jurszan
  • Camp parade of "Hashomer Hatzair" members planning to emigrate to Ben Shemen, Eretz Israel, from Krakow region, 1937. There were 21 candidates in the camp – 17 emigrated to Ben Shemen, among them Itcha (Yitzhak) Reznik, Moshe Rabinovitz and Zvi Katzenelson from Mir
  • Guides and leaders of the "Hashomer Hatzair" movement in Mir. Center, in a leather coat – Joseph Kaplan, one of the leaders of "Hashomer Hatzair" in Poland; to his left – Dov (Berchke) Reznik
  • Guides and leaders of the "Hashomer Hatzair" movement in Mir. Center, in a leather coat – Joseph Kaplan, one of the leaders of "Hashomer Hatzair" in Poland; right – Dov (Berchke) Reznik
  • "Poalei Zion" - S.Z.  (Socialist-Zionist) youth with friends serving in the Polish arm
  • Training group in Mir at the conclusion of their service, 1925
  • Committee of the Socialist-Zionist youth group "Freiheit" in Mir, 1927
  • Soccer division, "Maccabi" union, Mir, 1925
  • Members of the "Hashomer Hatzair" group in Mir, c. 1939
  • Members of "Hashomer Hatzir" washing in the lake
  • Keren Kayemet Committee in Mir, 1925. Third from right – Avraham Eskolsky
  • Movie day for the "Hechalutz" movement, Mir, 1928. Right – Zvia Peker
  • Moshe Eskolsky (seated right) with his friends in "Hechalutz", Mir
  • Group of Beitar members, Mir. The photo was given as a memento to Rosa (Shoshana)  Gercowski
  • Sisters Sara (third from right) and Henya (second from left) Reznik, at the Constanta port before their emigration to Eretz Israel, 1924
  • Group of graduates, members of the "Hashomer Hatzair" group in Mir. Standing, right – Yaakov Levin; second row, second from left – Bruria Kaplan; third from left – Nechama Cinkin
  • Membership card belonging to Yitzhak Reznik of the "Maccabi" Union, 1936
  • Membership card belonging to Yitzhak Reznik of the "Maccabi" Union, 1936

Immediately following the establishment of the World Zionist Organization in 1897, the first Zionist Organization was established in Mir. In 1902, emissaries were sent from Mir to the Zionist Conference in Minsk, and during the revolution of 1905, cells of Bund and Poalei Zion activists operated in the town. At the beginning of the 20th century, the Tzeirei Zion organization for boys and girls was established in Mir, whose founders included Yeshaya (Isaiah) Tiktinsky, son of the Rosh of the Mir Yeshiva.

After WWI, the "Youth Circle for Independent Education" (Jugendkreis) was established in Mir, which gathered every evening to hear lectures from volunteer speakers. This was an apolitical circle looking for new ideas. The circle finally broke up and most of its members joined the Zionist-Socialist movement. Others joined the Bund.

In 1924, the "Hashomer Hatzair" youth movement was established as a scout movement. In 1925, the first emissaries from "Hechalutz" arrived in Mir. The Jewish youth of the town was carried away with its enthusiasm for "Hechalutz," and then "Hechalutz Hatzair." Also established in the town were the "Freiheit" (Dror) and "Beitar" youth movements. "Hechalutz" concentrated all the youth movement activities and established a training center. Movement members worked on the property of the Mirski prince as well as in a leased vegetable garden.

"Here [in the "Hechalutz" building] we learned to sing Hebrew songs; here we quietly studied the wild Hora dance. We received guests from abroad, heard lectures and debated, and from here we travelled to training groups and to Eretz Israel. On the other side of the wall, the yeshiva [ketana] students studied pages of Talmud to a pioneering melody they learned from us." Bruria Retner-Rosenblum, "A Journey in the Streets of Mir," Sefer Mir, p. 201

Funded by the Jewish school and the youth movements, Hebrew circles and Hebrew and Yiddish literature circles were established in Mir, as well as lecture programs, libraries and drama circles. Trips, performances, dances and lotteries were held – also to raise money for the school. The "Maccabi" sports organization also operated in Mir, with youth training there every evening.

This exhibition was made possible through the generous support of:

Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany

The Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany works to secure compensation and restitution for survivors of the Holocaust.

Since 1951, the Claims Conference - working in partnership with the State of Israel - has negotiated for and distributed payments from Germany, Austria, other governments, and certain industry; recovered unclaimed German Jewish property; and funded programs to assist the neediest Jewish victims of Nazism.

To learn more about the Claims Conference, click here.

Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany

The Foundation in Memory of Mir Jewry in Belarus