The year was 1965 exactly 20 years after the liberation of only a remnant of Holocaust survivors from Cracow, Poland when a courageous group of 13 men met privately to discuss the possibility of creating a social group, a fraternity of kind, that would meet occasionally for the purpose of socializing, reminiscing, and moral support. These people had the foresight, wisdom, and awareness of the great need for such an organization.
The first founders meeting took place at Steven Morrow's home on February 7th, 1965. This date is considered the day of birth for the New Cracow Friendship Society. The many weeks of planning that followed resulted in the first meeting of “Jews from Cracow” on March 14, 1965 at the Jewish Center of Kew Garden Hills in Flushing, Queens, USA.
The first gathering of the enthusiastic multitude of more than 700 Holocaust survivors from Krakow was a tremendous success. Their happiness and tears were ultimate proof that the time for the realization of such an organization was right. As the enrollment of membership began, the new Cracow friends became a reality and the group of 13 became known as the Founders. At a subsequent meeting on May 2, 1965 the assembled gave the Founders a mandate to run the organization that was dubbed “The New Cracow Friendship Society, Inc.” for one year.
The governing body of the Society consists of two chambers: The Executive Board (six members): President, two Vice Presidents, Treasurer, Secretary, and Comptroller, and the Board of Directors comprises twelve members. Elections are held every two years.
The combined Board meets six times a year. The Board meetings are chaired by the two Vice Presidents in rotation, and are guided by Robert's Rule of Order. The function of running the organization is facilitated by various committees headed by a chairman. Four General Membership Meetings a year are mandatory.
The Society publishes a very informative bimonthly newsletter that provides information of organizational activities and carries articles ranging from commentary on Jewish holidays and Jewish customs, information on developments in the world of Holocaust survivors, book reviews, letters to the Editor, congratulatory messages on member’s achievements, to listings of contributions and much more.
This website provides an up to date calender of event plus information about the society, membership information, photographes and more. Visit us as well on social media sites.
Finally, this organization is sensitive to the needs of those less fortunate among us whether in the U.S., the city of Krakow or in Israel.
Cracow (in Yiddish CRUKE), a city in South Poland was the residence of the leading Polish Princes during the 12th Century, and later became the capital of Poland (until 1609). For many centuries it was the home of one of the most important European Jewish communities. In 1335 King Casimir the Great (Kazimierz Wielki) founded the city of Kazimierz near the southern end of Cracow where Jews settled in large numbers. A synagogue, a bathhouse (mikvah) and cemetery are first recorded in the 1350's. During the centuries Jews in Cracow experienced persecution and riots, but at other times also benevolence and acceptance.
The Jewish population of Cracow through the 1900's was:
Year Jewish Population Total Population %
1900 25,670 93,310 28%
1910 32,321 43,000 21%
1921 45,229 64,000 7%
1931 56,800 219,000 26%
1938 60,000 237,000 25%
1948 5,900 299,000 2%
1955 4,000 335,000 1%
As of 2009 there is a thriving JCC Krakow with a growing Jewish community. The Jagiellonian University in Krakow has established a Jewish Studies Program.