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Guide to the International Workers Order Records TAM.001

Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archive
Elmer Holmes Bobst Library
70 Washington Square South
10th Floor
New York, NY 10012
(212) 998-2630

Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on April 05, 2018
Description is in English.

Historical/Biographical Note

The International Workers Order (IWO), a Communist-affiliated, ethnically organized fraternal order, was founded in 1930 following a split from the Workmen's Circle, the Jewish labor fraternal order. Max Bedacht, the IWO general secretary from 1932-1946, also served on the Communist Party's Political Bureau. At its peak, shortly after World War II, the IWO had almost 200,000 members, including 50,000 in the Jewish Peoples Fraternal Order. The IWO provided low-cost health and life insurance, medical and dental clinics, and the individual sections supported foreign-language newspapers, and a range of cultural and educational activities and institutions, including children's camps and cultural schools. The placement of the IWO on the Attorney General's list of subversive organizations in 1947 was the first of a series of events that led to the liquidation of the IWO in 1954, after it had lost its tax exempt status and insurance charter.