Ziomkostwa

Landsmanshaftn: organisations of emigrants, that united people coming from the same town or region. They aimed at mutual help, social contacts, and sometimes helped compatriots emigrate. First Jewish landsmanshaftn appeared in the 19th century among the emigrants circles concentrated at the synagogues. Gradually, they gained a secular character. During the 1920s and 1930s, landsmanshaftn appeared in Latin America and Palestine. In the 1930s they supported the emigration of compatriots by using the collective visas to the USA and Palestine. After the World War II and the reception of many Jewish emigrants who survived the extermination, they started to document the history of Jewish towns resulting, among other things, in the publication of the so-called memorial books (Yizkor Books). Another type of landsmanshaftn, which aimed at the mutual aid among people displaced from other towns, emerged in the ghettos in Poland during the occupation. After the war, those organisations were established to help people find their families in the country and abroad, as well as recreate the Jewish community in particular towns.

The term was created within the framework of the project Zapisywanie świata żydowskiego w Polsce [recording the Jewish environment in Poland], whose author is Anka Grupińska, a well-known Polish journalist and writer, specializing in the modern history of the Polish Jews. The project, initiated in 2006 by the Museum of the History of Polish Jews, consists in recording interviews with Polish Jews from all generations.
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