"The Koordynacja": The Zionist Koordinatsia for the Redemption of Children in Poland

Identifier
KOR.COL.
Language of Description
English
Dates
1946 - 1949
Level of Description
Collection
Source
EHRI

Biographical History

The Koordynacja ("The Zionist Coordinatsia for the Redemption of Children in Poland") was an organization in postwar Poland that operated with the aim of redeeming children from monasteries and catholic families after the holocaust. The "Koordynacja" was established on January 1946 following a meeting between Sara Dushnitski (in years to come - Shner Neshamit) and Arie - Leibl Goldberg – Sarid who both realized the immediate necessity for such an enterprise. It was followed by the collaboration agreement of all the Zionist organizations: "HaShomer HaTsair", "Dror", "Gordonia", "Ichud" (The Zionist Youth) and "Poalei Zion", "Akiva", "Wizo", "Noar Borochov". Throughout the years of its operation, its institutions took care of approx. 1000 children. Its operation was terminated on June 1949 when the political climate in Poland changed.
The mission of the "Koordynacja" was perceived as a national common effort to return Jewish children to the bosom of their people. They wanted to prevent at any cost Jewish children growing up in a hostile gentile environment. They perceived these children as the future of the Jewish people who have been otherwise almost completely annihilated. Their preliminary decision was to redeem the children at any costs. The funding for the operation was raised from various Jewish organizations and Institutions and well as individuals. Their preliminary goals were:

  1. Redeeming Jewish children from foreign hands.
  2. Establishing Children's kibbutzim for children between the ages of 3 – 13
  3. Gathering in these kibbutzim children from different backgrounds (Redeemed, Orphans, Repatriated, Wondering children, Children from mixed marriages, older girls who were tied with Christian partners during their hiding and now wanted to return to Judaism, etc.)
  4. Provide these children with Zionist education.

The children were housed in four homes – two in Lodz (one for younger children and another for older ones) and two in Silesia. Most of those children were alienated and even hostile towards Judaism after the war years during which they lived in monasteries or other Christian environments. The Koordynacja representatives who were sent to redeem them risked their lives traveling to far corners of hostile Poland of that time. The prominent among them were Dvora - Marysia Zilber – Flejszer and Yeshayahu Drucker (Drucker was affiliated with the "HaMizrachy" movement but he collaborated extensively with the Koordynacja). Thanks to their "Slavic" looks, their knowledge of the Polish language, their familiarity with the Christian religion as well as the ways of the rural people and also the Polish army uniform that Drucker appeared with – they gained the cooperation of the children's care givers as well as the children.

Archival History

At the heart of the collection is the Index card collection that Sara Shner Neshamit had brought with her from Europe when she immigrated to Israel in 1948. Sara was one of the founders of the Koordynacja and leading educator of the organization. According to her there were initially approx. 1000 index cards but the majority of them were lost. Sara managed to bring to Israel 330 cards as well as two photograph albums of the children. Throughout the years the collection expanded and as of today the GFH archive holds 16 albums - the largest collection of the Koordynacja and the children who passed through its institutions.

Scope and Content

Index cards – 330 index cards of Koordynacja children with their details and photographs. Each card contains preliminary details (in many cases only partial information) such as their name, year of birth, who were their parents and from where did they arrive. • Albums – 16 Koordynacja albums that belonged to the organization's activists. It was given to them as a farewell gift when they immigrated to Eretz Israel. The albums contain photographs of the children during their daily activities & celebrations as well as photos of individual children with information about them. • 2 albums that belonged to Dvora - Marysia Zilber - Flejszer, one of the emissaries to redeem children who stayed in touch with them many years later. The albums contain everything she received from the children through the years – invitations to weddings & other celebrations, Newspaper articles, etc. • The manuscript of the book that Sara Shner - Neshamit had written about the Koordynacja. • A Single Newspaper published by the Koordynacja only once in 1946 in Yiddish "Faren Yiddish Kint" (for the Jewish child) • An album and other files donated by Chasia Bielicka - Bornstein, containing correspondence with the children and their war time memories. • Files with documents and collections of Koordynacja activists (such as Legal litigation with courts in Poland over the children's custody)

Conditions Governing Access

Those archival materials which have been digitized and made available for viewing -- accessed on this site or through the GFH website’s Online Archive -- may be downloaded for personal use and classroom presentation, but not for distribution in any media. High-resolution images of archival materials are available by order; there is a fee for this service. Due to privacy rights, some of the materials in this collection cannot be accessed through the internet. Researchers wishing to gain further information are invited to contact the archive.

Rules and Conventions

EHRI Guidelines for Description v.1.0