Zionism in Europe
Poalei Zion

Home       l       Site Map      l      Exhibitions      l     About the Museum       l      Education      l     Contact Us       l      Links

   The "Second Aliyah" to Palestine occurred between 1904 and 1914. At the beginning of this period, there were two labor parties, both founded by those who would eventually immigrate to Palestine during the Second Aliyah.

   Both parties had different leanings. There was the Hapoel Hatzair (Young Worker) party, which was nationalistic and anti-socialistic. There was also the Poalei Zion (Workers of Zion) party, which leaned toward socialism. 

Within Poalei Zion itself there were opposing views, and these conflicting views eventually caused a rift and split  the party between the right wing of the group, which included Ben-Gurion, and the left wing of Poalei Zion.

   In 1919, the right wing of he group that included Ben-Gurion, and others who were anti-Marxist, formed a new party, which some ten years later united with the group Hapoel Hatzair to form the Mapai party. This group included all of mainstream Labor Zionism. The left wing of the Poalei Zion group eventually would eventually merge with the group Hashomer Hatzair, which was Kibbutz-based, as well as other left-wing groups ,to form the Mapam party, which further merged at a later time with other groups to form the Meretz party.

Ożarów, Poland

Sandra Sherman Feldman's father, Sidney Sherman, is left centre with violin.
Her aunt Altu Sherman is in the second row, extreme left.


"This organization benefited from the dissolution of the Free Thinkers and the transfer of their library to its own premises. From then on, you could find translations of Victor Hugo, Romain Rolland and Voltaire which attracted many readers. A large number in turn joined the movement, which became an important political force as a result. It responded to the aspirations of a Jewish working class who wanted to emigrate to Israel, while at the same time struggling for better conditions at home. It's motto was 'Wissen is macht' or 'Knowledge is power.'

The Poalei-Zion gradually added to its library and organized classes for those who had not attended school. Discussions touched on a wide range of subjects: the Marxist theories of Borokhov, Palestine, and the struggle of Jewish workers for Polish independence. Ożarów was even visited twice by the leader Zerbavel, a renowned orator."


"In the 1930s the Poalei Zion, a non-religious Zionist organization, started a school in Ożarów. As might be expected, it was a secular school, promoting leftist ideals. The organization brought in a teacher from Vilna, but except for the members of Poalei Zion and their sympathizers, no one entrusted their children to him. The other Ożarówer families demonstrated uneasiness, if not outright hostility toward the movement, which had a whiff of Marxism about it. And since the kehillah also refused to give any financial support to the new school, the teacher had no choice but to return to Vilna."

Ożarów 15
photo and written excerpts from "Memories of Ożarów: A Little Jewish Town That Was" by Hillel Adler. Translated by William Fraiberg.






Home       |       Site Map       |      Exhibitions      |      About the Museum       |       Education      |      Contact Us       |       Links

Copyright © 2008. Museum of Family History.  All rights reserved. 
Image Use Policy.