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Translation of Kurzelow chapter from
Pinkas Hakehillot Polin
Published by Yad Vashem
Published in Jerusalem
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This is a translation from:
Jewish Communities, Poland,
Volume VII, page 466, published by Yad Vashem, Jerusalem
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(Wloszczowa region, district of Kielce)
Kurzelow is mentioned first in the 12th century, in shepherds' dispatches of the Pope of that time, who created a new ecclesiastical district. In 1285 the privileges of a town were granted aas well as permission to hold a weekly market day. In the year 1540, there were 85 houses and in the beginning of the 17th century there was a flour mill, smithy, and a factory of iron products. Around that time, there were guilds of tailors, blacksmiths and furriers. In the middle of the 17th century, Swedish invaders conquered Kurzelow and shed destruction and ruin. After that Kurzelow declined and its position deteriorated for two hundred years. Only in the 19th century was there again economic and demographic growth.
Jewish residents of Kurzelow are first mentioned in the beginning of the 19th century. They were very few in numbers. And even during the First World War, when the Jewish settlement reached its climax, it numbered no more than 50 families.
In the period between the two World wars, there was a study house ("Beth Midrash") which was wide enough to accept all the praying Jews from the surrounding villages. The mother community of Kurzelow was Wloszczowa. We don't have information about the public life of the Jews of Kurzelow. It is possible that due to their small number and lack of ways to make a living, the number of Jewish citizens decreased. Another reason for the Jews to leave were acts of anti-Semitism, which had increased in the 1930s.
On July 1940, a Ghetto was erected in Wloszczowa, after which the ability of the Judenrat to aid the Jews of Kurzelow decreased. The refugees remained in Kurzelow until mid September 1942, while an Aktion ("Akcja") took place in Kurzelow. In the beginning, 13 Jews were murdered on the spot. The rest of the Ghetto, local and refugees, were deported to Wloszczowa. Two days before Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement) 1942, everyone was deported to the death camp Treblinka. Later in 1942, probably after almost all the Jews had already been expelled, three Gestapo men arrived in Kurzelow and murdered 7 Jews - 5 men and 2 women (probably they had been hiding and were handed over to the Germans).
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