Landsmanshaftn societies are Jewish immigrant organizations comprised of people who came from the same town.
Their purpose was usually for the benefit of newly arrived immigrants, to help landsman who had not yet come over, and for social purposes. As one author eloquently put it:
"While the Jews had seldom felt much loyalty to Russia or Poland as nations, they brought with them fierce affections for the little places they had lived in, the muddy streets, battered synagogues, remembered fields from which they had fled.
The landsmanshaft, a lodge made up of persons coming from the same town or district in the old country, was their ambiguous testimony to a past they knew to be wretched yet often felt to be sweet." (Irving Howe, World of Our Fathers [New York and London: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1976], 183.).
First (Erste) Ozeraner Sick Benovolent Society
Some of the immigrants from Ozeran started a landsmanshaft in 1902 in New York City, called the First Ozeraner Sick Benevolent Association.
Their organization was listed in the Jewish Communal Register as follows: "First Ozeraner B.A. Sick benefit, cemetery, free loan. Org. 1902.
Membership 95. Meets 1st and 3rd Sundays at 106 Forsyth St. Pres., Michael Barr, 54 Henry St. Sec’y, Barnett Resnick, 141 Kosciusko St., B’klyn.
Barr, Michael, Pres. First Ozeraner B.A. (106 Forsyth Street), since 1916. Term 1 year. Born 1867 in Russia. Came to U.S. 1902.
Received general Jewish education. Lumber. Res.: 54 Henry St." (The Jewish Communal Register of New York City, 1917-1918, [New York: Kehillah, 1918].
The First or Erste Ozeraners have a cemetery section in the Mount Zion Cemetery in Maspeth, New York. The Erste Ozeraners’ burial section is located off
58th Street between path number 18 and path number 16 of Mount Zion. A recent online search of the interments at Mount Zion Cemetery indicates there are
303 individuals buried in the Ozeraner section. The first burial recorded was in 1904 and the most recent was in 2005 (www.mountzioncemetery.com).
The Erste Ozeraners officially disbanded in 1995.
Link to gates of the First Ozeraner Sick Benevolent Society cemetery section:
Lapel pin of First Ozeraner Sick Benevolent Society, enameled undated:
Landsmanshaftn societies often printed souvenir booklets when they held anniversary dinners and banquets. These journals are good sources of information containing names of past and present members, widows, addresses and sponsors. See the following links for the 1952 and 1967 Erste Ozeraner Society banquet souvenir journals. The 1952 journal appears courtesy of Jon-Henry Barr.
Newark Ozeraner Society
A second Ozeran landsmanshaft was organized in Newark, New Jersey in March 1938 by Abraham Gerber. After returning from a trip to Ozeran (Ozeryany) in 1937,
he felt that something more had to be done to help those left behind in Ozeran. This new group Abe Gerber founded was called the Newark Ozeraner Society. The group disbanded
in 1999 when the active membership dwindled below thirty. The Newark Ozeraner Society has a burial section in the New Mount Zion Cemetery. New Mount Zion Cemetery is part
of Hillside Cemetery on Rutherford Avenue in Lyndhurst, New Jersey.
Link to gates of the Newark Ozeraner Cemetery:
See the following link for Newark Ozeraner Society banquet souvenir journal cover-1946:
See the following links for Newark Ozeraner Society banquet photos-1940 and 1948: