Pioneering Scouts Youth Organization Hashomer Hatzair in Lithuania

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Where: Kauno Apskritis, Kauno Savivaldybe, Lietuva

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When: Unknown

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Founded in 1913, as a merger between Tse’ire Agudat Tsiyon and Ha-Shomer, the organization Hashomer Hatzair was a Zionist-socialist youth movement that trained young people to immigrate to kibbutz in Palestine. The organization was founded in Galicia but expanded throughout Europe in the 1920s – by the late 1920s the organization had over ten thousand members, a number which had more than doubled by the start of WWII. The mixture of Zionism and socialism at the core of Hashomer Hatzair and its focus upon encouraging immigration set the organization apart from other youth organizations of the time that were either less expressly political or less focused (or hostile to) the cause of Zionism – while members of the organization who had already immigrated pushed the organization further and further to the left. With the onset of WWII many members of the organization attempted to get to Palestine, while others fled from the Nazis, even as others fell victim to their onslaught. Many members of Hashomer Hatzair became prominent leaders in the anti-Nazi resistant movements such as Haykah Grossman, Mordekhai Anielewicz, and Abba Kovner. This bookstamp belonged to a branch of Hashomer Hatzair active in Kovno – attesting to the fact that many of the branches of the organization had libraries. Hashomer Hatzair is still an active organization today.

This book stamp is from a book looted by the Nazis and sorted by Colonel Seymour Pomrenze, one of “the Monuments Men,” at the Offenbach Archival Depot.
There are two scrapbooks of archival markings from the books sorted at the Offenbach Depot in the Seymour Pomrenze Collection held by the American Jewish Historical Society (Call number P-933) There is a finding aid for the collection here The digitized scrapbooks are available here and here.

For more information on this project check the Center’s blog:

Dr. Mitch Fraas, Acting Director of the Digital Humanities Forum at the University of Pennsylvania Libraries' Special Collections Center is working on a similar project for the German book stamps based on NARA microfilm of the volumes the American Jewish Historical Society currently holds. See

The Center for Jewish History would like to acknowledge the following: The American Jewish Historical Society, who graciously allowed the use of their archival materials and digital content; Mitch Fraas, Acting Director of the Digital Humanities Forum at the University of Pennsylvania Libraries' Special Collections Center, for his data and technical assistance in this project; David Rosenberg, Senior Manager for Communications, and Melanie Meyers, Senior Reference Services Librarian for Special Collections, for managing and creating the digital map; as well as Reference Services Librarians Zachary Loeb and Ilya Slavutskiy for their work on translating and mapping.

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Owner: Center for Jewish History, NYC
Source: Flickr Commons
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