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History


FOUNDER-PRESIDENT OF SOROPTIMIST INTERNATIONAL OF BELGIUM

                       

Marthe Hirsch, born into a Jewish family, was the fourteenth child in a family of 16 children.  Thanks to her hard work, she became director of the “MARTOUGIN” chocolate factory.

When in 1929 talks were initiated for the creation of the first Soroptimist club in Belgium (Antwerp), Marthe HIRSCH was involved in the discussions. The club was chartered on April 12, 1930, and Marthe became its first president.

The real life of the club was started after this moment. The main purposes of meetings were to become familiar with the various professions represented and to meet new members on the one hand, and the recruitment and the creation of new clubs on the other. The members of this first Soroptimist club also had an early opportunity to assert their views ...they officially took a stand against the “Rutten” law aiming to limit professional opportunities for married woman!

Following the creation of a second club (Brussels) in 1938, the Belgium Soroptimist Union was founded in 1939 and Marthe Hirsch became its first president.

The activity of the clubs was banned during the Occupation of the Second World War. Marthe HIRSCH put an end to her life on September 23, 1942, when a German officer came to arrest her.

These tragic events would be the reason why the archives of Martha Hirsch and particularly those of the club have not been preserved.






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