What was the significance of Warsaw for Polish Jews before the war?

Before the war, Warsaw was the biggest Jewish city in Europe and second in size Jewish city in the whole world.

Wide pspiewak
Profesor Paweł Śpiewak

Before the war, Warsaw was the biggest Jewish city in Europe and second in size Jewish city in the whole world. In terms of presence of Jews, only New York came first. Actually, all social groups of Jews met in the capital and it was possible to observe the variety of their life styles. In Warsaw lived Hasidic Jews leading very traditional lives, Orthodox Jews as well as liberals. Synagogues and thousands of houses of prayer of variety of religious denominations functioned next to each other. There were political parties headquaters: zionic, Bund’s and Aguda’s. The political left-wing, also communist and Trotskyist, had a strong presence. Also, sports clubs, social organizations, unions, such as the union of Jewish writers and journalists, marked their presence. Warsaw was also an emigration center and was an important center for Jewish education. The capital was a host to many Jewish Universities. Yeshivas and the Institute of Judaic Studies. Interestingly, the Institute was located in the building which is now used by the Jewish Historical Institute.

Jewish Warsaw was, in some way, what Warsaw is in general: an intensive, diverse and rich in essence as well as in lifestyles city. A place, in which various societies and identities of Jews were built. It was Warsaw where a lot of artists of Jewish background lived: writers, painters or sculptors. Here, hundreds of papers and magazines addressed to Jewish communities were issued in three languages (in Hebrew, Yiddish and Polish). In addition, because of Warsaw being a capital, it was here that relationships between political and economic elites from the whole of Poland developed. It was a meeting point, a place of interaction between communities.

This website uses cookies to collect statistical data. If you do not accept it, please disable cookies in your web browser. I understand