Grodno (also named "Hrodna", "Horodno" or "Grodne"), now a large city in western Belarus, was an important crossroads town in the north-east corner of the 2nd Polish republic between the two world wars. It is also the home of a very ancient Jewish community, dating back to the fourteenth century. In the 1920-30's over 40% of the city's population was Jewish; more than 20,000 Jews resided in Grodno, out of a total population of 50,000. This was a very diverse Jewish community, with Zionists, Bundists, and a majority of Orthodox Jews (mostly Misnagdim). This diversity is reflected in the map of the local media and press. Grodno Jews, like Jews throughout Poland, were ardent readers of newspapers, and they too read the Warsaw-based dailies Hajnt and Der Moment. But besides these popular dailies, several local newspapers published in town also had a solid readership; Zionist weeklies (Unzer Leben, 1926-1927; Unzer Wort, 1933-1935), A Bund-affiliated weekly (Grodner Shtime, 1927-1939), and an unaffiliated daily-commercial newspaper (Grodner Lebn, 1938-1939).
The Grodner Moment was the first daily newspaper published solely in Yiddish in Grodno (several Jewish dailies in Russian and German were published before and during the First World War). The first issue was published in early September 1924 (5.9.1924), by the publisher & editor David Berezowski, a well-known journalist and public figure, who also published numerous articles and feuilletons in Vilna's newspapers.
During its 15 years, the Grodner Moment went through several transformations and changed its name a few times, due to financial difficulties and disputes within its editorial team. For instance, between January 1928 and October 1931 the newspaper was published under the name "Unzer Grodner Express", when it was actually serving as a local edition of the Warsaw daily Unzer Express. The Warsaw edition arrived into town daily with its front & back cover blank, and upon these blank pages the local edition was customized & printed. During this period, the inner pages were practically identical to those of the Warsaw edition, just a day later. This cooperation with Unzer Express came to an end in September 1931, and during the following month, October 1931, a similar cooperation was conducted with the Warsaw daily Warshever Radio (owned by Der Moment), and the Grodno edition was named "Grodner Radio". On October 25th 1931 this cooperation was terminated as well, and the name was changed back to the Grodner Moment. The cooperation with Unzer Express was renewed in August 1932 for several months, up to early 1933, when it ended again, and the newspaper was published as the Grodner Moment until September 1939.
The newspaper was usually 4 pages long and 6-8 pages long on Fridays. It was printed in Berliner Format (47X32 CM), and was the most popular newspaper amongst Grodno Jews. Its popularity can be explained due its editorial policy of balancing between the need to produce dignified journalism with satisfying the need for the sensational and the scandalous articles. The cover page was cluttered by adds and public announcements, alongside news reports, and occasionally, mainly on Fridays, it was totally covered by adds, mainly for local businesses, wedding announcements and greetings and so forth. The inner pages held a wide variety articles, reports, stories and sections. The news reports covered both local and national issues, and often also world news, with an emphasis on the Jewish world. When covering local news, the editors often took a very critical stance, criticizing local community leaders and institutions harshly. Besides the news, other regular sections included Theatre reviews, feuilletons, Satire, Travel logs, Historical, Political & Social essays and of course novels in serial form.
The newspapers' popularity is evident by the abundance of advertisements and announcements representing local businesses, theaters, cinemas, and announcements of upcoming lectures and assemblies. These adds, that were an integral part of the newspaper, are indeed another valuable primary source that can shed light and help us better understand the consumption habits, leisure and cultural life of Grodno Jews between the two World wars.