Bela Dobrzynska / Neta Zytomirski-Avidar

Bela Dobrzynska was born in Lublin in 1885. Her father, Rabbi Koppel Kenigsberg, was very rich. It was a religious-orthodox house, but Bela got also a comprehensive secular education.
While Bela was young, her mother died. Bela, the firstborn daughter, took care of her little brothers and sisters until they grew up. She was responsible for taking care of the house and managing her father's financial actions.
Bela was married to Rabbi Perec Dobrzynski, a son to a known Hassidic family from Lodz and one of the richest people in Lublin. The couple had three children: Nathan, Chana and Arye.
After the end of the First World War, Bela began to be involved in public activity.

Bela Dobrzynska had joined the General Zionists party which was led by Izaak Gruenbaum. In 1928-1929 she was a representative of the Zionist Organization in Lublin town council. She was also a member in the central committee of the Zionist Organization in Poland and participated in all the conventions.
In 1929 she was a candidate of the "Minorities Block" list at the elections to the Polish parliament.

Bela was a Zionist. She was active in the national funds at Lublin: The Jewish National Fund and The Foundation Fund; she was one of He'Halutz founders in Lublin; she was active in building training kibbutzim and finding work for their members. Bela made sure that the halutzim would get emigration certificates to Palestine. She encouraged the youth to leave Poland in time.
All of her Zionist activity resulted from the recognition that the Jewish People future is in Palestine (Eretz Israel). She understood the Jews have to leave Poland and immigrate to Palestine in order to build there the national home of the Jewish People.
But until the Zionist dream comes true, she aimed her social activity for helping the people living in Lublin. She was among the founders of The Jewish Women Organization which had social and Zionist goals. Few of its enterprises were founding Children Department in the Jewish hospital in Lublin; founding Kinderheim – Preschool and Grade School for children of working mothers; and opening "public kitchen" during the Second World War.

Bela could have accomplished her personal Zionist dream. In 1936 she visited her son Nathan in Palestine. She met there with former Lubliners who had tried to convince her to stay. She had listened and then answered: "Your motivation convinces me that my place is among my people… if black days are expected to the Jews of Poland, then my place is with Lublin's public which for them I have dedicated decades of devotion. There I would be more useful. I know I can save myself; nothing is easier for me than bringing my family; but what will I answer my conscious, what will I tell the Lubliners who live in Palestine, what will they say behind my back? That I have saved my soul? No, if trouble is expected for Jews of Poland, my place is among them, and I'm determined to return Poland in the coming days."

Bela Dobrzynska was murdered in Majdanek Camp with her young son, Arye.
Her daughter Chana also died in the Holocaust.

Synopsis and translation to English: Shmulik Avidar

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