For the Good of the Nation: Institutions for Jewish Children in Interwar Poland. A Documentary History

For the Good of the Nation: Institutions for Jewish Children in Interwar Poland. A Documentary History

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Edited and Translated by Sean Martin

Series: Jews of Poland
ISBN: 9781618115676 (hardcover), 9781618119810 (paperback)
Pages: 242 pp. 
Publication Date: July 2017

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Tens of thousands of Jewish children were orphaned during World War I and in the subsequent years of conflict. In response, Jewish leaders in Poland established CENTOS, the Central Union of Associations for Jewish Orphan Care. Through CENTOS, social workers and other professionals cooperated to offer Jewish children the preparation necessary to survive during a turbulent period. They established new organizations that functioned beyond the authority of the recognized Jewish community and with the support of Polish officials. The work of CENTOS exemplifies the community’s goal to build a Jewish future. Translations of sources from CENTOS publications in Yiddish and Polish describe the lives of the orphaned Jewish children and the tireless efforts of adults to better the children’s circumstances.

Sean Martin is the author of Jewish Life in Cracow, 1918-1939. He is Associate Curator for Jewish History at Western Reserve Historical Society, Cleveland, Ohio.

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For the Good of the Nation should be an interesting book and source of references for researchers of interwar Polish-Jewish society, culture, social politics, and education. All readers will have a chance to discover in this volume something relevant to their research. It may serve also as an important inspiration for the next research undertaking.
— Kamil Kijek, Institute for Jewish Studies, University of Wrocław, Slavic Review, Vol. 77, No. 4

Table of Contents


I: A History of CENTOS

II: Descriptions of Homes for Children
The “Orphanage in Pinsk”

The Publication of the Home for Orphans in Lwów, Zborowska 8
Maks Schaff

Childish Stubbornness: Notes of a Teacher
Tsvi Tarlovski

Pen Strokes (From My Inspections in the Provinces)
A. Goldin

Images of Youth in School Publications
Leon Gutman

The Strike: An Image of Dormitory Life
Yakov Sarner

III: Home for Jewish Children and Farm in Helenówek

Education or Crime? From the Diary of an Educator
Yekhiel Ben-Tsiyon Kats

IV: CENTOS in Otwock

The Therapeutic and Educational Institution in Otwock (Three Months of Activity)
Zofia Rosenblum

Awakening in an Institution (Images of an Institution for Defective Children in Otwock)
Kalman Lis

Two Visits in CENTOS
Helena Boguszewska

Five Years of CENTOS Activity in Otwock
Zofia Rosenblum

Working with Abnormal Children: On Eight Years of CENTOS in Otwock
Abraham Berger