A Timeline for ORT

Inspired by Facebook’s new Timeline update, this is a timeline about the history and formation of the ORT organization and its’ subsequent worldwide growth.

  • 1880ORT is founded in St. Petersburg, Russia by 3 men, Samuel Polyakov, Horace de Gunzburg and Nikolai Bakst.  Their intention is to help millions of poor Russian Jews become trained and educated in various skills and trades.  The acronym stands for Obshestvo Remeslenofo Zemledelcheskofo Truda, which translates to: The Society for Trades and Agricultural Labour.
  • 1909ORT adapts their programs to prepare Jews for areas in the workforce that need trained artisans influenced by the industrialization of Russia, ORT teaches workers automotive training
  • 1920s-1930s – in Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Romania ORT forms programs to teach trades to youths, and sets up vocational courses for adults
    • Soviet Union – helps move Jewish people onto land as farmers 
  • 1921 – ORT becomes international in membership as well as operations, World ORT is founded in Berlin
  • 1921American ORT Society is formed in New York City, in 1922 it becomes known simply as American ORT
  • 1927 – Women’s American ORT is formed by, Mrs. Jacob Panken, Florence Dolowitz and Anna Boudin.  Both American ORT organizations are established for fundraising reasons and are instrumental in getting funds for ORT schools and training programs
  • 1933 – World ORT Union’s Berlin headquarters are moved to Paris because Hitler’s rise to powers means Germany is no longer safe for Jewish organizations or individuals
  • 1939 Many of ORT’s programs continue past September, after the invasion of Poland and the start of World War II
    • even in camps and ghettos ORT directors and teachers continue to attempt to teach others
    • within weeks of the invasion of Poland, ORT’s Warsaw workshops secretly reopen, and in      August 1940 they have official authorization to operate in the camp


  • 1940 As many as 20,000 people may have received training between September and early August 1942, when ORT was again forced into hiding
  • 1945 – 1950 – ORT provides education and vocational skills to Holocaust survivors, helping them begin to rebuild their lives
    programs are re-established in Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland and Romania, and one is set up for the first time in Czechoslovakia
  • 1948  –  after the creation of the State of Israel, ORT begins programs in Jerusalem and Jaffa and      
    • continues to expand globally


  • 1960 – ORT began providing non-sectarian humanitarian support to disadvantaged people in Eastern Europe, CIS and Baltic States, Latin America and Asia
  • 1970s – ORT Latin America  has major operations in Brazil, Uruguay and Argentina
  • 1985Los Angeles ORT college is established
  • 2000 resumes activities in Cuba and is the leading provider of Jewish education and technological training for the community
  • 2006 – In the United States, American ORT and Women’s American ORT fuse the two organizations together to enable ORT to have a stronger voice in America

  • 2012 – World ORT has been active for over 130 years, and still operates schools and programs in over 64 countries
    For more information about Los Angeles ORT College please visit our website!

LA ORT is a group of nonprofit junior colleges in Los Angeles and Van Nuys provide career training in short term courses.