Dzierzoniow

After the Second World War Dzierzoniow in Lower Silesia became the largest Jewish agricultural centre in Poland. The community consisted of about 150 families on individual farms and some dozens of families on cooperative farms. ORT provided Dzierzoniow farmers with vocational training and machinery as most them came from towns and therefore had to be trained in the very basics of agriculture. At every step of their work they were supported by ORT specialists. The training farm also ran summer courses for youth preparing them for emigration to Israel and organized vocational training in needle work (dressmaking, corsetry, tailoring), radio technology, carpentry and cardboard working. In May 1948 these courses were attended by 175 students.

A visitor to the school reported in the ORT Bulletin: ‘Dzierzoniow is a small town in Lower Silesia. Before the war nobody ever heard about it, but now it is fast becoming an important centre of Jewish life in Poland. To date quite a number of Jews, Some 20,000 of them, have already come to settle in this isolated spot, to begin a new life. They come after years of anxious hiding, or torture in concentration camps...But Dzierzoniow is not simply a settlement. It is a large workshop and an educational centre, it is a means of healing physical and spiritual wounds, inflicted by war and occupation. Primarily it is concerned with the education of a new generation of Polish Jews, the training of the older ones for a vocation, and the creation of a system of productive work for those who are capable of taking part in it...Clustered around ORT headquarters, are vocational schools. Here the former concentration camp inmates, the former partisan fighters and those who for years had hidden in cellars, are being trained for their new place in life.’[1]

Archive photo of ORT students
WOA p05a068 Students attending a radiotechnology class in Dzierzoniow, Poland. Dzierzoniow was the largest Jewish agricultural centre in Poland. The community consisted of about 150 families on individual farms and some dozens of families on cooperative farms. ORT provided Dzierzoniow farmers with vocational training and machinery and organized vocational training in needle work (dressmaking, corsetry, tailoring), radio technology, carpentry and cardboard working. In May 1948 these courses were attended by 175 students.

[1] World ORT Archive: ‘This is Dzierzoniow. New Centre of Jewish Life’ ORT Bulletin vol. I no.1 (December, 1947)