Statutes of ORT Russia. St Petersburg, 1908. KAA (Kaunas County Archives)
Report about the opening of the Kaunas branch of ORT Russia. 9 April 1908. KAA
Report by the head of Kaunas police to the Governor of Kaunas on the activities and first board of ORT Russia’s Kaunas branch, 1911. KAA
Passport application registration card of Ozeris Finkelšteinas, a lawyer, an ORT society founder and member of the Seimas (the Lithuanian parliament). KAA
Application of the society founders to the head of Kaunas City and County to register the society. Kaunas, 25 October 1920, LCVA (Lithuanian Central State Archive) The application was sent by Kaunas residents Dr Lozorius Finkelšteinas, Ana Matisienė, Kopelis Volockis, Dr Efraimas Rabinavičius and lawyer Ozeris Finkelšteinas, and included a draft of the society’s statues.
Example of an ORT Lithuania stamp, and its approval by the Minister of Internal Affairs. LCVA
Members of the 1st agricultural and productive cooperative ‘Zhuravitsi’, Vilnius 1920[Reverse] “Dedicated to our dear visitor and comrade L. M. Bramson from the 1st agricultural production co-operative ‘Zhuravitsi’ near Vilno”). World ORT Archive
The statutes of ORT 1920, (first page). LCVA The first headquarters were located on Vilniaus Street No 10, Kaunas [Kovno].
The establishment of ORT in LithuaniaOn 9 April 1908, the Societies Department of St Petersburg City Board informed the Societies Department of the Kaunas Province Board that the Kaunas branch of ORT Russia started its activity in Lithuania. In 1911 the Kaunas Branch Board was chaired by Dr I. Freidbergas; members of the board included Isersonas, Segalis, Volfas and others. After Lithuania’s independence was declared in 1918 efforts were made to re-establish ORT. The society’s statutes were registered on 7 February 1921, which marks the beginning of ORT’s official activities in the country. According to the statutes, the Kaunas-based society Board was in charge of all activities and consisted of no fewer than twelve persons elected from its members at a society general meeting. The Board elected a chairperson, two vice chairpersons, a treasurer and a secretary from its members. Board meetings were to be held as necessary, but at least twice monthly. ORT goals and tasks: The society aimed to promote skilled trades and agricultural labour among Jews. It established branches throughout the country, equipped workshops, supported tradesmen, agricultural schools and courses, subsidised and gave loans to farmers and artisans.
The 1921 statutes state that the society has branches in the Kaunas and Suwałki provinces of Imperial Russia; the 1929 statutes specify that Lithuania is the area of the society’s activities. The society had three goals: 1) To establish trades and agricultural labour schools, offer vocational courses, equip workshops, support these educational institutions and their Jewish students; 2) To support artisans and farmers; help both individuals and societies to establish agricultural companies and trades workshops; acquire plots of land for vegetable gardens and orchards; acquire seeds, various trade and agricultural tools and other instruments and their storage places; and 3) To support the existing and future agricultural colonies and trades workshops; help tradesmen to move from one place to another; and supply them with publications about the society’s activities. In 1929 the society was allowed to change and supplement its stat-utes drawing on the resolution of a general meeting of its members. The society’s name was then registered as the Society for Promotion of Skilled Trades and Agricultural Labour among Jews in Lithuania, ORT.