Bernard Pordes

ID: 4
Engineer and social activist.
Bernard Pordes, born in Lemberg on 18 July 1883, was one of the city's engineers and social activists. Pordes graduated from the II gymnasium and Engineering Faculty of the Polytechnic University. In February 1911 acquired a position at the Provincial Government (Wydział Krajowy) as the first and the only public official of Judaic faith. Later worked at the Polytechnic University. Before the First World War was directing road construction in the countryside. During the war Pordes served in the army. From May 1915 to 1919 continued directing road construction, later worked on various levels of Polish government on public works. From 1933 acquired the right to construct buildings and status of a civil engineer for the construction of roads, railways, bridges and waterworks.

Starting in the years of his youth, Pordes took part in public life,  beginning with self-organised, conspiratorial circles of Polish youth in the gimnasiums. While a univeristy professor, he too part in the conspiratorial "Organizacja”, which aimed at spreading the idea of Polish independence among the Jewish masses, as well as conspiratory Union of Polish Youth "Zet", a nationalist organisation active during the late Habsburg period.

In 1902 after completing his final exam at the gimnasium Pordes joined the Society for Popular Education (Towarzystwo Szkoły Ludowej, TSL) and was elected to the board of the academic circle of TSL and of the reading room of TSL in Żołkiewski district. In 1903 he founded a reading room in the name of B. Goldman on Słoneczna Street in Lemberg, and two years later a B. Goldman Circle at the TSL, followed later by a whole row of Goldmannian institutions in the countryside with which Pordes remained in constant contact until the breakup of the First World War. The 1931 Cracow Congress of the TSL, called on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the society's foundation, passed a special
resolution of honour to Pordes' years of activity in the field of popular education.

Pordes was also active in the Polish paramilitary "Sokół" organisation, being one of the founders and chairs of the local Sokół III branch in Lemberg.

Among Pordes' other diverse activities one should mention his membership in the editorial board, and later a co-publisher  of weekly "Jedność”, issued from 1906 to 1914; and his role as a founder of the Union of Academic Federalist Youth (Związek Akademickiej Młodzieży Zjednoczeniowej).

During the interwar period continued his active participation in the Polish-oriented Lemberg Jewry: the Circle of TSL in the name of B. Goldman, Jewish Middle Class Club (Żydowski Klub Mieszczański), Civic Union (Związek Obywatelski), Union of the Employed Jewish Intelligentzia (Związek Żydowskiej Inteligencji Pracującej), Union of Jewish Veterans of Wars of Liberation (Związek Żydów Uczestników Walk i Wojen o Niepodległość Polski), etc.

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