THE 1920s. PRUZHANY LIFE IN ARGENTINA
As David Forer relates (Pruzhany Yizkor Book, 1958, page 861) after WWI and particularly after 1921, the emigration began from Pruzhany toward North and South America, in particular toward United States, Canada, Cuba and Argentina, as well as to Israel (then Palestine). Already in 1923 there were in Argentina a good quantity of Pruzeners (= people from the Pruzany district), which compromised a majority of youths and single people. They were accustomed to meet and eat in a restaurant in the Jewish neighborhood in Buenos Aires. There was a well known solidarity among Pruzeners, in particular as for search of work and housing for those recently arrived.
Starting from 1924 conversations began about the convenience of organizing a " Fahein " (Union) in order to have a homelike atmosphere and to be able to exercise mutual help. In March of that year about 40 - 50 Pruzeners met (first formal meeting of the Pruzeners in Argentina) who constituted the " Farhein ". During 1925 - 1926 these meetings continued, including those of religious observed festivities (in a non-strict orthodox way).
On April 18 1926 a group of them founded the KRANKEL CASSE (Health Fund) to the effects of being able to sum up the material help and remedies for sick persons. From the beginning they took registrations of those associated. In particular during the first year they also wrote down the age and the occupation of the partners; from then on they only registered the members address. It forms the list of 150 initial members. See that the first ones had in their majority between 18 and 22 year olds (this age was in the year 1926; they had arrived with in two or three years beforehand) and they lived up to five people in the same house.
The first Pruzeners in the Argentina were very strongly tied to their origin cultural patterns. This is observed with the following three examples.
A ) The conflict* among social classes that took place in Oriental Europe, was reproduced in the Health Fund in Argentina, since it was the same historical moment (the 1920's). During the first period of its existence, only workers were entitled to vote and to be elected, the tradesmen among others, were excluded. In May 1926 they raised funds for the Jewish Workers Library of Pruzene. Only in January 1929 they gave the right of voting to all members.
B) The second case happened one-month before the forming of the Health Fund. In March 1926 they raised funds to send to " Poland " a worker that had tuberculosis. At that time, the Pruzeners knew about the existence of the Argentine League against Tuberculosis. However they decided to send him to their native place.
C) The third has to do with the printing of the first Pinkas Book in 1930 in Pruzhany. To cooperate with Pruzene they formed a commission of five people**, members of the Health Fund. These registrations survived despite many problems. When the " Farhein " closed, some documents disappeared, and others were kept in the AMIA (Jewish Mutual Association in Argentina). Like everybody knows, this institution was object of a terrorist attack that destroyed the building and a lot of people died. The documents were under the demolished building. Rescuer brigades went through the ruble and picked out the papers they found. These papers were placed in boxes.
YIWO Argentina was taken charge of the care of these boxes. CPSA had access to this documentation and the right of organizing them, and to reproduce them for the knowledge of its members. Inside this material there were the handwritten lists of the partners of the Health Fund from its foundation and up to the 1929.
These data was transliterated from the
handwritten Yiddish, filtered and organized, so that the names of the Puzeners that
arrived to Argentina in that period are known. Their descendants live in these lands, and
those who search those names can find them.
* It is well-known that the Jews from Eastern Europe, and among them people from Pruzene, suffered great hardships under the czarist régime and by the progroms of Alexander III that began in 1880. They had three orientations to overcome their situation. Some joined the International Socialist's movements, by means of the Bund organization, which gave the formation of the block of communist parties of the East at the end of WWI. Some others looked toward Palestine, in what gave in calling the formation of the Zionist movement. The orthodox religious in Pruzhany looked toward Vilna and they looked for their salvation by the prayer. The first two were in open conflict.
** Their names: Epstein A, Berkman A., Nitzberg M., Pomeranietz D. and Rozenstein M
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