The work of the Pinsker: Orphans Relief Fund of London, 1921—39

The town of Pinsk lies on two great rivers in Western Russia, intersected by railway routes along which the trade of the booming Russian economy flowed in the early part of the twentieth century. In 1931 no fewer than 24,000 of its population of 32,000 were Jewish, constituting 75 per cent of the total, slightly higher than the pre-1914 percentage. ‘Most industries were in the hands of Jews, especially the tanneries, liquor manufactories, breweries, corn mills and saw mills. The Pinsk Jews played an important part also in the lumber and fish trade.’1 Pinsk in addition had a vibrant Jewish culture before the First World War. Its suburb of Karlin was a Hasidic stronghold and the town was one of the centres of the nascent Zionist movement.2

In 1915 Pinsk was occupied by the German army, its inhabitants scat? tered and Jewish family life disrupted. After 1918, as the army

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