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The Jewish press underwent a process of improvement. The first Polish-Jewish newspaper was “Dostrzegacz Nadwiślański” weekly (“Der Beobachter an der Weichsel”) which was founded in 1823 by Antoni Eisenbaum[7.1]. In 1830-1831, the Jews connected with assimilation movement published over a dozen issues of “Tygodnik dla Izraelitów – Jutrzenka”, edited by Daniel Neufeld between the years 1861-1863. Hilary (Hilel) Gladsztern, a contributor to this magazine, published in 1867 the first newspaper in Yiddish titled “Warszojer Jidysze Cajtung” of which fifty issues were printed[7.2]. One of the longest-issued weeklies published in Polish was “Izraelita” established by Samuel Cwi Peltyn. It appeared in print from 1866 to 1912[7.3].

The only established Hebrew magazine was “Ha-Cefira” founded by Chaim Zelig Słomiński in 1862, at first, as a weekly, then as a daily. It was published from 1913.

A very remarkable event in the history of the Warsaw press was the publication of “Der Weg” magazine in Yiddish, edited by Cwi Pryłucki in 1905-1907[7.4]. Later on, Przyłucki and M. Spektor issued “Unzer Leben” (1907-1912). The two most distinguished Yiddish dailies in Poland: “Hajnt” (Dziś), and “Der Moment” (Chwila) were published in Warsaw in 1908-1939 and 1910-1939 respectively. “Nasz Przegląd”, the magazine sympathizing with the Zionist movement (1923-1939), appeared in Polish. “Mały Przegląd” magazine was also established. It was connected with “Nasz Przegląd” and edited by Janusz Korczak. Alongside the development of the press, Jewish journalism, essay writing and reportage made a noteworthy progress.

The above are only a few examples of the Jewish magazines published in the city. Once the political movements and parties became part of daily life, the press appeared and engaged in the process of conveying news. Apart from that, leaflets, appeals, brochures, etc. were published.

The first Jewish performances in Warsaw were put on as early as 1837-1839[7.5] and they concerned biblical issues (e.g. “Moses in Egypt”) presented in Yiddish. Despite the objection of the Temple Supervision Board, the plays were staged in a dancing room called “Pod Trzema Murzynami” at 2 Ogrodowa Street, and later in a building in Muranowski Square.

In 1868, a modern theater building was erected in Muranowski Square. It could accommodate 800 people[7.6]. A regular 30-person male group was formed. The audience could admire biblical plays and listen to opera and operetta arias.

Many traveling theater groups, giving performances in Yiddish, passed through Warsaw. Some of them created a great sensation and contributed to the development of the Jewish theater. In 1886, Goldfaden’s troupe arrived in Warsaw and together with Russian performers they allegedly staged plays in German. The most brilliant success was achieved by a play entitled “Szulamis” that was delivered over 150 times before numerous audiences in an open-air theater[7.7]. A fast development of theater occurred after the year 1905. Ester Rachela Kamińskabecame the star of all stages in the capital. At that time, a number of Jewish theaters were called into being and by 1925 there were nine theaters in the city.

The development of a theater was connected with the development of literature and with the creation of new theater plays and stories in Yiddish. Warsaw was claimed to be the center of Jewish cultural life. Icchak Lejb Perec, a poet and playwright, was especially connected with Warsaw. At first, he created in Polish and Hebrew, later only in Yiddish.

Thanks to a Judaica collection handed over by Mathias Bergsohn, the Jewish Museum was instituted in 1905 and five years later it was relocated to the building of the Jewish Kehilla[7.8].

During elections to the Jewish Kehilla from 1912, a coalition of assimilationists and Misnagdim narrowly defeated the allied Zionists and Hasidim under the leadership of Nachum Sokołow[7.9]. This tenure was extended without a time limit during World War I.

The Section for the Relief to Poor Families, and later Section for the Care of Poor Mothers and Their Children were formed in the Charity Department. The Jewish Sanitary Committee was also established. In time, the kehilla authorities were forced to set up the Society of Support to the Jewish Victims of War.

Janusz Korczak

Janusz Korczak

(1878-1942) Pseudonym of Henryk Goldszmit. Pedagogue, physician, writer, publicist. He grew up in an assimilated, wealthy Jewish family from Warsaw. His father's mental illness and early death meant that Korczak was forced at an early age to support his mother and sisters, and also himself, so he could continue his studies, first in high school and then medical school at the University of Warsaw.

A few months after graduating from medical school in 1905, he was called up for the Russian army and was sent to the front in the Russian-Japanese War. He served over half a year as a senior medical officer in the hospital trains; he was demobilized in early 1905. He was a physician in Berlin in 1907-1908, in Paris (1909), and in London (1911). After returning to Poland, he worked in the Bersohn and Bauman Children's Hospital in Warsaw. He was active in the community, such as in the movement to establish free reading rooms, in the Charity Society, the "Or...

Esther Rachel Kaminska

Ester Rachel Kamińska née Halpern (Helpern, Hailpern) – 

She was called the "mother of Jewish theater", born in 1870 in Porozów, near Wołkowysk, a cantor's daughter; she died in 1925 in Warsaw. She was an actress in Yiddish-language theater, the wife o Abraham Izaak Kamiński, the mother of Ida and Józef Kamiński. She began working as a modiste, selling fashionable ladies’ hats. She made her stage debut in 1888 in Warsaw. After the death of her parents, in 1893, she dedicated herself to the theater entirely. She appeared with the troupe of her future husband, Abraham Izaak Kamiński, mainly in operettas. Real fame came several years later, when Kamińska began appearing in serious roles, such as in the world premiere in Warsaw of Di Goldene Keyt (The Golden Chain) by I. L. Peretz and during a Russian tour in 1908-1909. Importantly, she was well received by wealthy, assimilated Jews in Moscow and Petersburg. Kamińska also performed in the United States...

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[7.1] A. Dylewski, „Śladami Żydów polskich. Przewodnik Ilustrowany”, Wydawnictwo Pascal, Bielsko-Biała 2002, p. 63

[7.2] M. Fuks, „Żydzi w Warszawie..., p. 181

[7.3] M. Fuks, „Żydzi w Warszawie..., p. 177

[7.4] M. Fuks, „Żydzi w Warszawie..., p. 262

[7.5] A. Kuligowska – Korzeniewska, „Warszawskie sceny żydowskie do 1939 r.” [in:] „Żydzi Warszawy..., p.145

[7.6] A. Kuligowska – Korzeniewska, „Warszawskie sceny żydowskie do 1939 r.” [w:] „Żydzi Warszawy..., p.146

[7.7] Żydzi w Polsce. Leksykon”, p. 503

[7.8] R. Żebrowski, „Gmina żydowska w Warszawie”, p. 20

[7.9] R. Żebrowski, „Gmina żydowska w Warszawie”, p. 18

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