"Osjaków" - Encyclopedia of Jewish
Communities in Poland, Volume I
(Poland)

51°17' / 18°48'

Translation of "Osjaków" chapter
from Pinkas Hakehillot Polin

Published by Yad Vashem

Published in Jerusalem


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This is a translation from: Pinkas Hakehillot: Encyclopedia of Jewish Communities, Poland,
Volume I, pages 52-53, published by Yad Vashem, Jerusalem


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(pages 52-53)

Osjaków (Osiaków), Poland
(Shakev – the Yiddish Name)

(Wieluń District)

Translated by Jerrold Landau

Population Statistics
YearGeneral
Population
Jewish
Population
1764/65?41
18971,233552
19211,544759
Sept 1, 1939?Approx 700

From the beginning of the 15th century until the middle of the 17th century, an iron factory operated in Osjaków, which extracted iron from the ore that was mined from the surrounding area. This industry, as well as the rise in value of the area in the realm of business, raised the status of the settlement to a city during the first half of the 15th century. It lost its status of a city during the second half of the 17th century due to the ravages of war and the dwindling of the population. However, a few decades later, Osjaków again began to become prominent in the region, and it had a weekly market day. These conditions contributed to the establishment of a small Jewish population there during the first half of the 18th century. The professional makeup of the community was as follows: three innkeepers, a small group of merchants who were active in business in Poland-Silesia, and several artisans.

By the 19th century, most of the Jews of Osjaków already owned fields, meadows and houses. However, after the reforms of 1864, most of them were about to lose these possessions, since ownership of them was permitted only to the peasant class. The efforts to maintain ownership manifested themselves in a variety of ways over several decades. A few Jews managed to maintain ownership of their houses and fields due to the intercession of one of the heads of the town of Osjaków, who established that the local Jews were to be counted among the peasant class.

The Jews of Osjaków belonged to the Działoszyn community. In the 18th century, there was a dispute between some of the Jews in Osjaków and the communal leadership of Działoszyn. In the second half of the 18th century, Osjaków became its own community with its own rabbi. At the end of the 18th century, Rabbi Eliahu Zinger occupied the rabbinical seat. He had previously served as the rabbi in Przysucha. After he left Osjaków, he served in Brzeżnica. In 1909, Rabbi Yitzchak Braun (the son of Rabbi Avraham Braun) served as rabbi in Osjaków. His son-in-law, Rabbi Menachem Teiger, inherited his seat.

During the period between the two wars, various Jewish communal organizations were active in Osjaków. These included the following: a benevolent fund (Gemilot Chassidim), a Linat Tzedek group, and an organization to support the poor. At that time, there was a library in Osjaków named after Y.L. Peretz, as well as a Jewish sporting organization.

After the Nazis occupied Osjaków (September 1939), a portion of the Jews left the town or were expelled to other places. During the first days of the occupation, the rabbi of Osjaków arrived in Piotrków Trybunalski, and on Rosh Hashanah 5740 he was imprisoned along with a group of Jews by the Nazi authorities. After the Germans tortured them, they sent them in a truck to an unknown destination. A Judenrat was established in Osjaków at the command of the authorities. At the end of October 1939, there were about 600 Jews in Osjaków. In 1940, the Jews were gradually evicted from their homes and concentrated in a ghetto. From the ghetto, a portion of them was sent to work camps, and it is almost certain that some Jews of Osjaków were sent to Bełchatów.

In 1942, approximately 500 Jews who were uprooted from nearby Kiełczyglów were transferred to Osjaków. This act of concentration was one of the preparations for the liquidation of the Jews in the Wieluń District. Indeed, the liquidation took place in the second half of August 1942. The Jews from most settlements in the region (including the Jews of Osjaków) were concentrated in Wieluń. The Jews who were most fit were chosen for work and sent to the Łódź ghetto, and the rest of the Jews were sent to the Chelmno death camp.

Sources

AP [Archiwum Państwowe] Łódź: Piotrkowski Urząd Włościański 106.
Y Goldberg, A. Wien, "The Book of the Community of Działoszyn" in "Pages of History"
1966, volume 16, pages 159, 161-162, 170-171.
"The Book of Kalisz", Tel Aviv 1967, volume 2, page 574.
"Di Zeit", 1931, issue 35.


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