2009 | 2(230) | 206-220
Article title

THE ROLE OF JEWS IN ECONOMIC LIFE OF WALBRZYCH 1945-1968 (Udzial Zydów w zyciu gospodarczym Walbrzycha 1945-1968)

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The Jews living in Walbrzych after World War II actively joined in the town's economy. Jewish women were the first to organize public transport in the town, while the men were among the first to set up cooperatives. They took jobs in Walbrzych coal mines, coking plants and steelworks. Some of them took local government jobs. Many helped set up trading enterprises, engaged in crafts, acted in civic and state organizations. Jewish doctors accounted for the majority of local health service staff, and many Jews worked in the courts, with some also working for the security service and the police. The number of Jews working in Walbrzych institutions, cooperatives and factories, and, consequently, the ratio of working Jews to all the Jewish people in the town and to Poles living and working there kept falling. This was due to a succession of tides of emigration as well as attrition, i.e., deaths or the abandonment of Jewish identity by some Jews. Documents from the late 1960s do not point to an important role of Walbrzych's Jews in the town's economy. In post-war Walbrzych, which was a centre of the mining, coking and steel industry, the Jews escaped proletarianization, despite the actions of the Polish Workers' Party/ Polish United Workers' Party. They preferred to stay in their own milieu, most often in cooperatives. Together with the changes pressed by the authorities, such as socialization, nationalization and centralization of all areas of the economy, also the Jewish cooperatives came under the control of the socialist state.
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  • Pawel Wieczorek, Walbrzych, Poland (for postal address contact the journal editor)
Document Type
Publication order reference
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