Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
Found in 1 Collection or Record:
Identifier: RG 47
Abstract The Society for Handicraft and Agricultural Work among the Jews of Russia, known by its Russian acronym, "ORT," was founded in St. Petersburg, in the Russian Empire, in 1880. Its aim was the promotion and development of skilled trades and agriculture among Jews, especially through support of vocational and agricultural training. At first operating only as a provisional committee, it received legal recognition in Russia in 1906, and subsequently established local divisions in various cities within Russia and, after the First World War, in Poland, Lithuania, and other countries. An ORT committee was formed in Vilna in February 1919; the ORT Society in Vilna helped found an international umbrella organization, the World ORT Union, in 1921, with headquarters in Berlin (until 1933) and, later, Paris. The collection comprises records of the ORT Society in Vilna that, despite their fragmentary nature, broadly reflect the society's activities from its beginnings until its dissolution by the authorities in Soviet-occupied Lithuania, in 1940. The collection contains administrative records, such as bylaws, minutes, reports, membership records, and financial records; outgoing and incoming correspondence, with correspondents including the ORT Central Committee in Poland, Warsaw (founded 1923); records pertaining to the administration of the society's vocational programs, including its Crafts School, which trained Jewish youth as artisans in the fields of carpentry and locksmithing, and various professional advancement courses for adults, in fields such as electrical installation and tailoring (cutting); records concerning activities related to agriculture in the period 1920 to 1923, apparently reflecting the work of an ORT regional committee based in Vilna (loan applications and questionnaires about Jewish families working on farms, in most cases pertaining to localities in the western part of present-day Belarus); and a few items documenting a credit cooperative society founded by the Vilna ORT Society. Also included is a small amount of ephemera, and two small groupings of ORT-related records with no apparent relationship to the society in Vilna: correspondence of the Arbeterheym (Workers' Home), Riga, Latvia, in 1923, including letters from the Jewish People's Relief Committee, New York, which became affiliated with the American ORT; and correspondence addressed to J. Capitanchik, London, in 1924, from the ORT Society in London, in part concerning his effort to organize an ORT committee in the city's East End.
Dates: 1898, 1912, 1919-1940; Majority of material found within 1919-1940