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Yad Vashem The Jerusalem of Lithuania: The Story of the Jewish Community of Vilna

The Interwar Period

Parties, Movements and Organizations

The Bund

Delegates to the first convention of the "Zukunft" (Future), the youth organization of the "Bund", 1919Poland, Delegates to the first convention of the "Zukunft" (Future), the youth organization of the "Bund", 1919
Cover pages of the "Bund" newspaper, prewar PolandCover pages of the "Bund" newspaper, prewar Poland

The Bund, the anti-Zionist Socialist party, had a great influence on the different professional organizations in Vilna. Bund members were active in the Yiddish educational and cultural institutions in the city as well as in the city council – against religion and Zionism, and in favour of Yiddishism. The Bund established a lecture hall and supported the YEKOPO Jewish Aid Committee, the TSBK Yiddish Education Network and the ORT professional training network. The authorities dispersed Bund celebrations and marches, or prevented them taking place.

The Bund demonstrated with the Polish Socialist Party (PPS) in the May Day marches. In 1937, thousands of demonstrators took part in a march, including members of the "Zukunft" Bund youth organization, Bundist students, Bund Women's Society (AP) members and the professional organizations that associated with the Bund. Speeches were heard from the party clubhouse, listened to by hundreds of people that had gathered along the adjoining street. In 1938-1939, the authorities banned the May Day demonstrations. Bund magazines and journals were confiscated by the authorities, and their publication was banned from time to time.

The Bund established a branch of the Working Women's Association in the city, as well as the "Zukfunt," the "Skif" children's organization and the "Morgenstern" (Morning Star) Sports Association, and supported classes for social issues in the city. It ran a drama circle, a mandolin orchestra and a football club, and opened a reading room. The Bund Working Women's Association ran daycare centres for children from impoverished families, so that dozens of indigent mothers could go out to work.

The Bund held gatherings in the city to mark special occasions, and was active in organizing general strikes. In the 1939 municipal elections, the party reached its peak among Vilna's Jewish population – of the 17 representatives in the city council, 10 were Bund members.

The exhibition was made possible through the generous support of Mr. Nehemia Burgin in memory of his dear and beloved parents, Holocaust survivors Zlata (Zehava) Burgin and Yehiel Burgin of blessed memory.