Association of Jewish Deaf-Mutes in Poland
In the interwar period the Jewish deaf-mute population in Poland was estimated at 4,000. The earliest attempt to organize deaf-mutes took place in 1916, in Warsaw, where the deaf-mute society, “Spojnia” (The Union) was founded. Other local deaf-mute societies followed in Krakow and Lwow.
In 1930, “Zwiazek Zydowskich Gluchoniemych” (Association of Jewish Deaf-Mute Persons in Poland) was founded, with its seat in Krakow. More local branches were established in Lodz, Wilno, and Bialystok. The head of the association was Bogumil Liban, an industrialist from Krakow.
In 1936, the association was renamed “Ogolny Zwiazek Zydow Gluchoniemych oraz Towarzystw Sportowych” (General Association of Jewish Deaf-Mute Societies and Sports Clubs). The organization was comprised of 400 members.
The association endeavored to meet the needs of its members by trying to secure material aid for the needy, promoting special education, organizing cultural events, and popularizing sports competitions.
Among the important forums for contact were annual congresses of the association. The association maintained close ties to the Weltbund, the World Union of Jewish Deaf-Mute Persons, whose seat was in Berlin.
The association was active until the outbreak of the war in 1939.
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The collection mainly contains correspondence of the association’s Central Committee in Krakow with its branches. The language of the letters and other documents (minutes, reports, bulletins) is primarily Polish; a substantial number of the records are in German, and a few are in Yiddish and Russian.
The topics include organizational matters of the association, the economic situation of the deaf-mutes, special education, and contacts with the Jewish deaf-mutes’ societies in other countries.
There is also a file from an earlier period of correspondence relating to the school, “Mesiyakh Ilomim,” for deaf-mute children in the Vilna province, 1912-1913.