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To work for the advancement of Jewish and other people through training and education. To provide communities wherever they are, with the skills and knowledge necessary to cope with the complexities and uncertainties of their environment.
The history of ORT began officially in 1880. Then the Organisation for the Distribution of Artisanal and Agricultural Skills among the Jews in Russia -ORT - was established inSt Petersburg to develop agricultural and artisanal skills among Jewish peasantry.
ORT was set up on the initiative of well-known scientist Nikolai Bakst; a railroad entrepreneurSamuel Poliakov; andBaron Horace de Gunzburg, a generous and respected leader of the Russian Jews and founder of the St Petersburg Jewish community,financier and banker.
Before the First World War ORT opened its handicraft schools in many cities of the Russian Empire from St. Petersburg to Odessa.
After Russian Revolution of 1917 ORT expanded its activities in Europe. It became necessary to create the World ORT Union to administer the growing number of ORT operations; and in 1921, at a meeting in Berlin, World ORT Union was incorporated.
In Russia, over a long period, ORT tried to work with the Soviet authorities to establish industries and to supply machinery from abroad. In 1937, the system broke down. ORT schools were taken over by the authorities and many Jewish artisans entered state employment.
World ORT Union was to remain in Berlin until late in 1933 when, with the advent of Hitler, it relocated to Paris, later to the safer environs of Geneva; and in 1979 WO Union moved its headquarters from Geneva to London.
World ORT united the work of the union in different countries; it retained the original Russian acronym “ORT” and begun to decipher its nameas Organisation for Educational Resources and Technological Training.