Fonds 1463 - Abraham Switzman Fonds

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Abraham Switzman Fonds

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    Avrohom Shwitzman Fonds

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    CA JPL-A 1463

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    • 1943 - 1967 (Creation)
      Switzman, Abraham, 1884-1967

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    0.39m of textual records

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    Biographical history

    Abraham Switzman was born in Warsaw. As a young man, he moved to Montreal, where he would spend the rest of his life, forming a major pillar of the local Jewish community. There, he raised six children with his wife, Channah. Switzman was an idealist, a Yiddishist, and a Labour-Zionist, known for his leadership roles in many Jewish organizations. He was also a lover of Yiddish literature, who kept up a years-long correspondence with Dovid Pinsky, one of his favorite writers.

    Switzman was deeply involved in the Jewish National Worker’s Alliance (AKA Farband). From 1943 to 1944, he served as chairman of the Farband City Committee. Switzman helped to found Dovid Pinsky Branch 296 in 1943. He was also president of the Warsaw Jewish Farband—a mutual-aid society for Jewish Montrealers born in Warsaw—for critical years during and after the Holocaust. As president, Switzman was deeply involved in efforts to ensure the future of Warsaw-born Holocaust survivors. Switzman worked with local companies and the local community to source employment for survivors emigrating to Montreal, and traveled to Warsaw and Israel to help Warsaw-Jews. He organized the donation of an ambulance to Israel, in the name of the former Jewish community of Warsaw. Switzman was also a chairman at the Yiddish Peretz Schools, and a well known presence at school events; his 60th birthday was celebrated with an endowment for a new classroom.

    Through his years of service, Switzman became known as a cornerstone of the Jewish community. His death in 1967 was marked with long and prominent obituaries in local Yiddish newspapers, which laud the legacy he leaves behind and predict that he would serve as a guiding light for generations of Montrealers to come.

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    Scope and content

    This fonds consists largely of materials related to Abaraham Switzman’s involvement in Jewish charitable organizations and mutual aid societies: the Jewish National Workers Alliance (“Farband”), the Warsaw Landsmanschaft, the Peretz Schools, the Union of Jews for Resistance and Mutual Aid (“Union”) etc. It also includes biographical materials, as well as publications attesting to Switzman’s interest in Yiddish literary culture.

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        This description was created by Archival Assistant Molly Newman in March 2024.

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