The Erste Warshaver Unterstitzungs Verein (First Warsaw Beneficial Society) was a landsmanshaft (mutual aid society) comprising Jewish immigrants from Poland. It was founded in the Hill District in 1905Before the early 1930s, the Erste Warshaver Unterstitzungs Verein mistakenly indexed its anniversaries to 1915, rather than 1905. to bring together recent Jewish immigrants from Warsaw who were living in Pittsburgh and small towns throughout the region. In time, the society expanded its membership to include Jewish people from all parts of Poland.
The Erste Warshaver Unterstitzungs Verein initially met at the home of members and for a time rented meeting space at the Pittsburgh Hebrew School on Crawford Street. The society eventually held meetings at the synagogue of the local Polish congregation Shaare Zedeck. The two organizations had a close association but remained legally distinct. The Erste Warshaver Unterstitzungs Verein joined the Federation of Polish Jews in America in 1926 as a way to participate in international efforts to support Polish Jewry. The society also maintained a close relationship with Rabbi Abraham B. Zilberberg.
In its first two decades, during the peak years of immigration, the Erste Warshaver Unterstitzungs Verein provided many benefits for its members, including health insurance, life insurance, burial assistance, and resettlement assistance. It established a Free Loan fund in 1908 and created the Warshaver Ladies Auxiliary. In time, as the needs of its membership changed, the society focused largely on its free loan fund. The society held an annual ball to raise funds to support this charitable endeavor.
Presidents of the society and its free loan fund include M. Volkovitz (1905), M. Shapiro (1906), L. Sheffer (1907), H. Tuch (1908), A. Friedman, Phillip Knopp, L. Levine, M. Sherman, B. Cohen, E. Melman, E, Kleinman, Sam Tuch, Joseph Fromm, B. Beizer, B. H. Cohn, M. Zeidenschneider, A. Spokane, Sam Lazear, M. Markowitz, D. Levy, H. Goldman, J. Waldman, J. Teitelbaum, M. Zwang, C. Marcus, Sam Schwartz, H. Tobes, J. Lichtenstein, Frank Shapiro, Isaac Wintrob, L. Shlakman, S. Siegel, M. Weintraub, Harry Goldman, H. Lazarus, Max Wnuk, Chefsky, A. H. Helfgott, M. Tachna, and Sam Cohen.
|↑1||Before the early 1930s, the Erste Warshaver Unterstitzungs Verein mistakenly indexed its anniversaries to 1915, rather than 1905.|