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

51°17' / 20°26'

Translation of "Gowarczow" chapter from
Pinkas Hakehillot Polin

Published by Yad Vashem

Published in Jerusalem


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Acknowledgments

Project Coordinator

Morris Wirth

Our sincere appreciation to Yad Vashem for permission
to put this material on the JewishGen web site.

Our appreciation to Sandy Zimmerman, who allowed us to publish
the translations which were done by Shalom Bronstein for her private use.

This is a translation from: Pinkas Hakehillot: Encyclopedia of Jewish Communities, Poland,
Volume I, page 78, published by Yad Vashem, Jerusalem


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(page 78)

Gowarczow
(District of Konskie)

Translated by Shalom Bronstein

Population Figures

YearTotal
Population
Jews
18271,049457
1857 1,266644
1897 1,528681
1921 1,508508
September 1, 1939 (?)450

The private town of Gowarczow received the status of a city in 1430. In the 19th and 20th centuries, it was lowered to that of an urban community. There was never any impediment to Jews wishing to settle there. This small town, subordinate to the Konskie community, had its own rabbi and, on occasion, two shochtim [plural of shochet, slaughter of meat]. During the years around World War I, the town's rabbi was R. Eibschutz. Gowarczow had a long-standing Jewish cemetery, thought to be 200 years old, a synagogue, a Beit Midrash and Stiblach of the Ger, Amshinov and Radoshitz Hasidim.

The community was relatively well off. At the end of the 19th and at the beginning of the 20th centuries, the Jews owned a few sawmills, but between the wars, they either shut down or passed to non-Jewish hands. At the same time, three or four small iron foundries functioned under Jewish ownership. The wealthy Jews were those who leased estates in the area, especially aspects of their dairy production as well as the innkeepers and tavern operators in Gowarczow and the surrounding villages. Most of the Jewish skilled craftsmen were tailors or shoemakers. Three Jewish folk-healers practiced in the town.

The entire Jewish educational system of Gowarczow consisted of a few private Hadarim [plural of Heder]. In the political sphere, the Zionists were dominant. There were local branches of the General Zionists and of the Dror youth movement. A local office of Agudath Israel was also formed.

The Jews of Gowarczow suffered greatly from anti-Semitic attacks by the local population and that of the surrounding area. In the time of World War I, apparently between 1917-1918, during the time of a cholera epidemic, the Poles exhumed a body from the Jewish cemetery and buried it at a crossroads, near the Catholic cemetery, in order to stop the plague. In spite of the efforts of the Gowarczow rabbi to blur the event, a group of Jews, including relatives of the deceased, removed the corpse from its new burial place and returned it to its former grave. The local Poles, against all logic, then accused the Jews of desecrating the bodies of Christians. The fire brigade was put on a standby basis and posters calling on a Pogrom against the Jews were put up in the town. Riots broke out, Jews were attacked, their homes and stores were destroyed, their possessions plundered and two or three Jews were murdered. The Pogrom continued for a day or two. A detachment of soldiers sent from Konskie put an end to it. A few dozen Poles accused of participating in the rioting were arrested.

Anti-Semitism returned, increased in strength, at the end of the 1920's and during the 1930's. A Polish farm co-operative, which had as its goal competing with Jewish stores, started in Gowarczow. Here and there, Jewish peddlers in the surrounding villages were attacked.

When World War II broke out, many refugees and displaced persons arrived in Gowarczow. The number of Jews rose significantly, from 716 in 1941 to around 1,000 in 1942. This community was destroyed by the Germans, in September 1942, when the Jews were deported to Treblinka. It is possible that small groups of Jews remained to work for the authorities by gathering the possessions of those expelled as there is a report that in the large Aktzia in nearby Konskie on November 4, 1942, a small group of Jews in Gowarczow were included and sent together with the Jews of Konskie to Treblinka.

In the village of Josefow, which was associated with the Gowarczow village community, the German authorities established a forced labor camp where Jews from Gowarczow, Odrovonzh [Odrowaz], Stomporkov [Staporkow], Czarniecka Gora and other places were concentrated. They did farm work under the supervision of the Jewish agronomist Chmielnitzki, a Jew from Stomporkov. The camp was liquidated in 1943. It is thought that this took place after it was attacked by Polish partisans who were searching for food. The Germans transferred all the Jews there to Szydlowiec. In this Aktzia, the agronomist [Chmielnitzki] was shot and other Jews also perished.

Sources

Yad Vashem Archives E/87-2; M-1/E 812/681


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