The History of the Mir Community Before the Holocaust
Youth Movements and Political Parties
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.