Report on ORT Activities in Poland, August 1946- June 1949

The attached three year report was submitted to the Congress of the World ORT Union in Paris in July 1949- the congress which concluded ORT's work in the DP camps and and the migration, vocational education and social re-integration of the European Jewish community in the first four years after the Holocaust.

This report discussing first three years of ORT activities in post-war Poland was complied and submitted in June 1949- a few months before ORT’s establishments were closed down and taken over by the Communist government.

The initial period of ORT's work in Poland was characterised  by fluctuation amongst the Jewish population of the country. Substantial immigration from the USSR was balanced by a constant stream of departures, mainly towards the countries seen as transit places for emigration to Israel.

The report focuses on the part played by ORT institutions in the reconstruction of Jewish life in Poland- it shows how teaching and work, continuing day after day, held people from emigration and had a stabilizing influence on Jewish life in Poland.The training, which initially consisted only of short-term courses, evolved into full time vocational schools.

Aside from vocational training, ORT schools provided students with instruction in Jewish languages and history. Most of them established scientific, cultural and sports clubs.

On the other hand, the report shows the difficulties faced when setting up schools in the unstable situation of immediate post war Poland. It describes lack of indispensable machinery and equipment, problems with finding teaching space in ruined cities and need of funds. It talks about necessity of changing curriculum to make it suitable for specific needs of those few who survived the Holocaust in Poland. The document describes the accelerated and condensed courses provided for students who urgently needed to start earning their living, as well as new forms of vocational training for women. The choice of trades taught corresponded with the fast industrialization of the country.