Sde Warburg, a village (cooperative agricultural smallholders’ settlement) located in the Sharon region, is affiliated with the Agricultural Union, and is municipally a part of the Southern Sharon Regional Council. It was founded in 1938 by immigrants from Germany, and named after Otto Warburg, the third President of the World Zionist Organization.
The village is comprised of 100 farms and 16 auxiliary farms, as well as three residential developments totaling 136 units. It is currently home to some 350 families, with a total population of about 1500, of which 250 are children and youth.
Sde Warburg is exceptional in that the residents of the additional homes are mostly the children and grandchildren of the original settlers. As well, it is known for its quality of life and environment, all zealously preserved by generations of the village administrations.
A bit of history
In the 1930s, with British Mandate authorities restricting immigration of Jews to Eretz Yisrael (British Mandate for Palestine) , the Jewish Agency reached an agreement with the German Treasury permitting Jews to transfer limited sums of money to Eretz Yisrael, although the funds could only be used to purchase items such as water pipes, water meters, and work tools that were German made. This agreement became known as the “Transfer”.
The “Transfer” enabled several hundred German Jewish families that had undertaken to settle in agricultural villages in Eretz Yisrael to immigrate. And so, these descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were able to depart from Upper Silesia and other regions of Germany for the Promised Land, and settle in Kfar Saba.
Through its authority, RASSCO (a company founded by the Jewish Agency), sent middle-class youngsters considered to be suited for settling land of the Jewish National Fund to the “wasteland” adjoining moshav Gan Haim.
The initial members of the settlement were thirty “capitalist” families who received ₤1,200 each for establishing a farm, as well as ten families of civil servants who purchased auxiliary farms with the assistance of Jewish Agency loans. Members tell stories about how they lived in Kfar Saba and Gan Haim while their homes were under construction, and would travel daily to the village in order to prepare the land for cultivation.
The original settlers were allocated an area of 47.5 hectares in three sections connected by dirt roads, and separated by private plots of land owned by Jews and Arabs.
On a clear day in May, 1938, munitions were hidden in a secret storage site. The following day saw the arrival of the first families that came to settle in the moshav.
1948 – War of Independence. The Haganah fighters reach Miski, the nearby Arab village, only to find it abandoned by its residents. Men from the moshav are drafted to man military posts between Miski and Tira.
May 15, 1948 – Iraqi forces reach the road linking Kfar Warburg to Ramat Hakovesh. Women and children are evacuated from the moshav to Kibbutz Haogen near Gan Haim. The men remaining in the moshav take up positions around the perimeter. For reasons unknown, the Iraqi forces withdraw after several hours.
1951 – The process of absorbing twelve families of Holocaust survivors from Hungary and Czechoslovakia that began in 1949 is completed. The moshav is allocated another 200 hectares of land and water is supplied from its own well. Another 15 hectares of land is allocated for future expansion of farms in the settlement.
1957-1958 – Expansion of the village is under way. The new arrivals are immigrants from Poland and Russia, families sent to the moshav by the “From the City to the Countryside” movement, along with a group of former kibbutz members. A common citrus grove of 50 hectares is planted for the new members prior to their arrival.
A formal decision is taken by Sde Warburg designating Hebrew as the official language of the village, a decision prompting the resignation of some management members who can only speak German.
1992 – The first of three residential developments solely for children of the members is completed, finally realizing a vision conceived more than twenty years earlier. The Israel Lands Authority opposes the release of agricultural land for residential use, but “from power comes forth sweetness”. The housing is built, and 21 families are added to the village.
1997 – The second stage is completed, and 43 more families join the village.
2005 – With the completion of the third stage, another 72 families settle in the village.