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Foreword

'Two sons and four daughters! What will good God give us now?', wondered tailor Izrael Zjawel Weltman when his wife Rywka was about to give birth to their seventh child. He didn't expect that in a few days' time in his wooden cottage in Łopuszno by Chęciny, in the gouvernment of Kielce, twins Berek and Małka would see the light of day.

It was February 1862. The oldest son of the tailor – Herszel was fifteen years old. The youngest - Chaskiel - only four. Rachel was already a beautiful girl and Estera was only six. Chaja-Łaja – a twelve-year-old young lady was already helping her mother in the household but Chana, who was three years younger, would still like to play with dolls.

Happy is a house where there are children – thought tailor Izrael wondering at the same time, how he would now settle his children. Would they stay in Łopuszno? But what would they be doing there? Would they leave home? Away from home is not good either. Eight children – eight joys. But also eight worries…

* * *

Such could be the beginning of a story about Jewish Łopuszno – a small village in the district of Kielce, one of the hundreds of Jewish 'shtetl' scattered all around Poland, where life was going on its own way and the Jews and the Poles lived next to each other. Not hindering one another they suffered from equal sorrows and – in most cases – equal poverty. Maintaining their distinct religion and culture, the Jews became an inherent element in the landscape of Polish villages and towns, and their links with the place they lived were so strong that today the history of a Polish town or village is incomplete when we don't mention its Jewish inhabitants. 'Shtetl' Łopuszno doesn't exist any more. Just like there are no more Jewish towns in Poland. Wiped out by the winds of wars, condemned to extermination, they are alive only in Jewish and Polish memory.

Tailor Izrael Weltman, born on December 11, 1811 in Łopuszno, the son of Herszel Weltman and Łaja Bakalarz is an authentic person. He was the husband of Rywka Rybowska, born also in Łopuszno on April 7, 1817, the daughter of Chaskiel and Frajdla, née Topor. In 1869 he owned the house that was marked on the map of Łopuszno with number 11. In the whole village there lived at that time 351 Jews – 173 men and boys and 178 women and girls. There were 226 Christians in Łopuszno. The Weltmans consisted one of a dozen or so Jewish families indissolubly linked to the history of the village.

It would be futile now to look for material signs of the Jewish past of Łopuszno. Those who don't know that for a few hundred years Jews lived in the village will not find any prove of their existence.

And still, the Jewish presence lasts in people's memory. Every older inhabitant of Łopuszno will show you the way to the place where there was once a Jewish cemetery. It is now a young forest outside the village, which would be difficult to find among similar copses. I was shown the way to the cemetery by a woman from the first house I went to. 'It's difficult to find. I'll show you', she said. 'My dad knew the Jews, he used to trade with them, and he has been talking about them till now.

She got into the car and drove down the way through the woods.

I was walking among the trees. I could only imagine that I was walking on graves. Today there is only one stone left, a broken piece of gravesite somewhere in the bushes at the Jewish cemetery. During the war the Germans destroyed Jewish graves to make a pavement in front of the gendarmerie station and used the broken rests to build roads. Around the cemetery there are remains of wooden poles that the commune enclosed the cemetery with in the 1970s.

There is not a trace of a synagogue. The first one was burnt during the First World War and the other was located in an old wooden house that doesn't exist any more, either. The only material sign of the Jewish past of Łopuszno constitute carefully preserved in the communal Registry Office certificates of births, deaths and marriages of the local Jews who lived in the years 1903-1939. This is the last trace of those who were part of the village history.

* * *

When I was looking in the State Archive in Kielce for remaining signs of the Jewish presence and was step by step collecting facts of the forgotten past in an attempt to reconstruct the history of the local religious department I met, first through the Internet and then in person Yaacov Kotlicki. His parents had been born in Kielce and they were both descendants of Jews from Łopuszno. Yaacov's father – Herszel Kotlicki once drew his family tree, the roots of which were coming from the already mentioned tailor – Izrael Weltman. During a meeting in Warsaw, where Yaacov came on business, we talked about his family – about those who survived and those who remained in memory. Yaacov told me among others about his wife's grandfather – Berek Goldszajd from Łopuszno who was called Berek Lejer by his family, which means Berek 'teacher'. He was famous for his excellent letters to the authorities. He gave me also a photo of Berek – a dignified old Jew with a fur cap, disheveled beard and wise eyes. Towards the end of the meeting I received a copy of the Kotlickis' family tree. At that time I didn't know yet that I would find records written with Berek Goldszajd's hand, and the names of the Kotlickis-Goldszajds' family tree would often figure in the files. Since then the rummage through the dusty files had changed into an adventure. The names on the old gray certificates revived and became familiar. It wasn't a pure reconstruction of the history of a Jewish community in Łopuszno. It was tracing the people I was acquainted with and who were becoming closer and closer to me. It was just as if I had started to look into the Wikinskis', Goldszajds', Weltmans', Razjmans', Wajsblums', Miodowniks', Marksons', Frajmans', Rozenwalds', Tajtelnbaums', Aleksandrowicz's, Ryngs', Zylbersztajns', Gołębiowskis', Kenigsztajns' windows and into the windows of several dozens of other Jewish families from Łopuszno, as if I had started to live their lives, their trubles, worries and their joys.

This is the origin of this book, which does not claim a right to be a full scientific monograph of the Jewish religious department in Łopuszno; it only presents people who inhabited that place on earth. All the presented facts can be proved in the registers. My purpose was to waken memories of those who once formed 'shtetl' Łopuszno but who were pushed by the dismal and tragic fate into the abyss of non-existence.

This book is the “last stone' of the Jewish gravesite that survived and testifies about the Jewish past of Łopuszno. It is dedicated to memory of those who aren't among us any more. It wouldn't have been created in this shape if it hadn't been for the friendliness of Yaacov Kotlicki, who is a co-author of this book in the part concerning traces of the memory of scattered around the world Jewish Łopuszno and of people whose roots are here. Professor Sinai Leichter from Jerusalem, born in Kielce, contributed to the creation of this book with his invaluable advice, knowledge and help, willingly sharing his memories of the facts concerning Łopuszno. I am grateful for his help. Also the management and the staff of the State Archive in Kielce deserve an acknowledgement of their kindness in rendering accessible the collections, as well as Professor Krzysztof Urbański, Jadwiga Muszyńska and Marta Meducka for their friendly advice and help.

Marek Maciągowski

 

On Dobiecki's Estate

Memorable fight with the guards

On Saturday, the August 29, 1842 at about 2 p.m. orthodox Jews of Łopuszno were gathering at the afternoon's Sabbath prayer in Abram Zyndlewicz's house, known also as Aleksander. There were also Abram Gołębiowski, Nusym Janklewicz and Mosiek Miodownik. Suddenly, as later on during the interrogation Abram Zyndlewicz testified,

'Into the room stormed Żołądkowski and four customs guards whose names were unknown to me and required us to light candles so as to make a search and ordered us to yield. As I couldn't light the candles because it was Saturday and the orthodox Jews didn't want to yield to them they took off their swords and began to hit mercilessly all those who were present in the room.'

The visit of the customs guards checking whether the Jews weren't trading with goods smuggled to the Kingdom of Poland ended up with an overall fight of the Łopuszno Jews with the guards. A few Jews were seriously battered. However, since they were in majority and Abram Gołębiowski with his bare hands snatched guard Krysiński's sword away, the guards went for help and support to the heir of Łopuszno, the owner of lands in Łopuszno and the nominal chief of the commune – Eustachy Dobiecki – who, irritated by the incident in the village and by the fact that the guards brought about the outrage without his knowledge, not only refused to help them but also made them leave the village immediately. What is more, he ordered the communal writer – Ząbkowski – to find six men to watch the guards and prevent them from plundering fields and destroying potatoes.

The fight didn't put an end to the whole incident. The guards made a report in which they accused the heir of Łopuszno of not helping them, of hindering them from doing their duties and of undermining the authorities in the face of the Jews. In his report the commissioner of the Excise Treasure Income (Dochody Skarbowe Tabaczne) Żołądkowski wrote:

'The heir of Łopuszno refused to help and hindered the guards from searching for the goods in the garden. He sent six people under the mask of watching the potatoes and threatened to bind the guards. The Jews, incited by the heir, attacked the observing guards with poles, stones, broke the windows of the houses and beat and murdered the people and threw a part of the goods out of the window and carried away a part of them and locked in a cubbyhole of the house.'

The investigation into the case of 'smuggling committed by the orthodox Jews in Łopuszno' lasted for six years and ended with a verdict of three months and fifteen days' arrest for the most active Jews participating in the incident and Eustachy Dobiecki had to pay a fine of 7 ruble and 50 kopeck. The heir of Łopuszno, a righteous and loyal citizen, master of law, judge and the president of the board of the Kielce province, had no intention to give in. Indignant, he described the incident in his appeal:

'The guards carried out a raid. They were beating the Jews till blood was drawn. Only after the fight had started one of them came supposedly to ask for help while a quarter before an injured Jew with torn beard had come and complained about the violations in the village. I replied that my help was unnecessary since they had started the search with violence and where there was already blood and fight there was no need for a righteous citizen.'

The guards, supported by the Russian authorities, tried everything to make the court punish the insolent Jews. The guards' suspicions that the Jews were trading with smuggled goods were not baseless either, according to what the guard Michał Krysiński said to justify the search:

'I know the boisterous temper of the Jews living in this village because they violently retook the goods I had confiscated before.'

In spite of the guards' testimony before the court that 'A great number of Jews are unemployed and they surely earn their living on doing things that cause damage to the treasure,' the Jews were supported by other witnesses – the Poles, among others by Ferdynand Kentye a policeman from Łopuszno, born in France – who claimed that they had neither seen any illegal goods nor heard about smuggling committed by the Jews.

Such an active reaction of the Jews and the riot with the authorities was rare in the Kingdom of Poland. And snatching the guard's sword and injuring one of them was a sign of a real revolt. Fortunately, the sword was immediately handed to the heir. It is probable that Dobiecki's active attitude and the resolute defense of the Jews from Łopuszno by the Polish witnesses resulted in mild sentences for three participants of the riots. Any act of rebellion was usually punished by the czar's authorities much more severely.

At this point it's worth considering the situation of Jews in the Kingdom of Poland. The Jews from Łopuszno, a provincial village, were subject to all the rules imposed on the Jewish population by strict laws of the czar's Russia. The Jews were treated like in the former Republic as a separate class, they didn't enjoy the political and civil rights, they weren't allowed to do the civil service, to work in the education and the health service, they couldn't be members of guilds, had a limited legal capacity and they were harassed with different taxes. The authorities developed a system of restrictions, introduced injunctions hindering the liberty of movement, and trade, which deprived the Jews of their traditional sources of income. This situation persisted till 1862, when steps were undertaken towards the equality of rights.

On the background of this situation it is easier to comprehend the need for a protector who would sympathize with the Jews. Such protectors in Poland were usually representatives of the nobility. The towns belonging to the king and the clergy had privileges that banned the Jews from settling there, whereas owners of private towns willingly supported Jewish settlers seeing in them a factor of industrial development. Also the Polish nobility used the service of Jewish bartenders and tenants. This context clarifies the attitude of the heir of Łopuszno – Dobiecki, whose estate was developing thanks to the settlers, among others thanks to the Jewish craftsmen who lived in Łopuszno.

Thanks to the riot with the guards and the long-lasting investigation there are some records in the files. There is a particularly precious record: 'A nominal list of the Jews living in Łopuszno,' made by Eustachy Dobiecki in 1842, thanks to which we have an exact register of the Jewish inhabitants of the village. Eustachy Dobiecki enumerates 31 names of heads of families. Assuming that an average Jewish family had 4-5 children (which can be proved in the register of Jewish inhabitants of Łopuszno of 1869) there lived probably 120-150 Jews in Łopuszno.

The names on the list represent the oldest Jewish families from Łopuszno and they appear in the records of the village history till the tragic year 1942. Thanks to this register we know what were the occupations of the Jews in Łopuszno.

On the list figure the following names:

  1. Mosiek Miodownik – oilman
  2. Izrael Rays - workman
  3. Haskiel Rybowski – small merchant and baker
  4. Icyk Żarnowski – furrier
  5. Izrael Weltman – tailor
  6. Szulim Gruszka – tailor
  7. Nusym Janklowicz – workman
  8. Icyk Ghutman – workman
  9. Zsyma Gołębiowski – stone-mason
  10. Cherśla Albird (Herszel Albert) - teacher
  11. Mortka Lejerman – oilman
  12. Szlama Wolsztain – wheelwright
  13. Berek Weltman – tailor
  14. Szmul Zylberberg – printer
  15. Szmul Ciapa – tailor
  16. Icyk Linker – undertaker
  17. Jankiel Potasiewicz – potash maker
  18. Abram Balicki – farmer and painter
  19. Lejzor Ghutman – workman
  20. Icyk Frajman – tailor
  21. Abram Cymerman – bricklayer
  22. Mortka Tenenbaum – workman
  23. Mojsiek Rozenwald – comb maker
  24. Abram Gołębiowski – stone-mason
  25. Josek Kamiński – cart-wright
  26. Majer Wolsztein – tailor
  27. Kalman Szmulewicz – school-teacher
  28. Josek Wajsblum – bartender
  29. Abram Zyndlowicz – farmer (He used the name Aleksander)
  30. Icio Wajsblum – farmer
  31. Gawryl Felchendel – kosher butcher

Eustachy Dobiecki put onto the list only the names of those heads of families who at the same time owned or rented houses. He didn't mention for example 26-year-old Dawid Zylbersatz – Abram Aleksander's brother-in-law, who lived with them or 24-year-old Zelik Syczewski, who was then a barber-surgeon. However, it is surely a reliable list. The incident with the guards and the active resistance of Jews testifies to the fact that a well-organized Jewish community existed already in 1842 and was able to fight for their interest and enjoyed support of the Polish heir. We can also see that craftsmen dominate among the professions and that there are representatives of rare among the Jews professions: stone-mason, bricklayer, painter, potash maker or cart-wright, who produced pieces of chaises and carts. It also means that the Jewish craftsmen found in Łopuszno good conditions for their activity and the neighboring villages and towns constituted a natural market for the goods that they produced.

It's remarkable that the list doesn't name a rabbi, which means that at that time the Jews in Łopuszno didn't have their own rabbi yet. Otherwise, it would have been impossible not to mention the most significant person in every Jewish community in description of the most important incident with the guards and the trial. The list contains names of teachers, which surely means that there were already melammeds teaching Jewish children (remember that in 1842 there were about 150 children in Łopuszno). There is also a kosher butcher who was occupied with ritual slaughter. It signifies that in Łopuszno was developing a society that could possibly become a commune – a religious department. The Jews from Łopuszno couldn't, however, afford a rabbi yet. They still asked the rabbi from Chęciny to supervise the kosher butchering. The prayers were taking place in Abram Aleksander's home. But they were already within a step of organizing their own commune.

 

When did Jews settle in Łopuszno?

Łopuszno is an old village dating back to the times of the Piast dynasty. It is situated near Chęciny – a former district town in the Sandomierz province. After the third partition of Poland and the loss of sovereignty the territories of the Sandomierz province were in the Austrian sector and afterwards, after the defeat of Napoleon and the abolition of the Duchy of Warsaw - in the Russian sector. Due to administrative changes in 1815 Łopuszno was in the Krakow province and the Kielce district and - after the names of provinces were changed into gouvernments – in the gouvernment of Kielce just like after the following changes that took place in 1842.

As early as in the first half of the 14th century there existed a small parish in Łopuszno and the church of Łopuszno is mentioned in the records of 1418. The estate of Łopuszno belonged to noble families. It had had many owners till 1721, when Jan Dobiecki received Łopuszno as a dowry from his wife – Anna, daughter of the staroste of the district of Radoszyce – Stanisław Derszniak. Since then it belonged to the Dobieckis for 220 years. After Jan's death Łopuszno was owned by Andrzej Dobiecki, a warrant officer of Chęciny and an owner of lands in Sandomierz, who also acted as a judge in disputes concerning the estate lands of the nobility. For his family's sake he managed to obtain from king August III the privilege of organizing three markets yearly. He was succeeded by his son Franciszek, born in 1761, a speaker of regional councils in Kielce. The next heir was already mentioned Eustachy Dobiecki, born in 1805.

Although Łopuszno had a rich history it never became a significant industrial center. It was an out-of-the-way village, far from trade routes. Life was going on its own way centering around the heir. Due to the fact that Łopuszno was a tenement village, where people only had to pay a rent to the heir and were released from doing the serf service and that the court was located there, the seat of Dobiecki became the focal point of the neighboring towns. In 1820s Łopuszno was inhabited by only about 300 people and that number prevailed till the half of the 19th century. Franciszek and then Eustachy Dobiecki were making efforts to develop Łopuszno. One of these activities constituted an active colonization policy. They immigrated German settlers, who were occupied in agriculture and became protectors of the Jewish inhabitants seeing in them an industrially active group that could contribute to the development of the village.

Eustachy Dobiecki – master of law of the Warsaw University, judge, secretary of the Land Credit Society (Towarzystwo Kredytowe Ziemskie) and a bank clerk, president of the Poviat Board of Kielce (Rada Powiatowa Kielecka), after inheriting his father's estate consciously supported Jewish settlers in Łopuszno. In spite of formal hindrances (the czar's legislation impeded Jewish settlements in villages – for example, they were deprived of the right to sell alcohol and the prices of licenses to run an bar were rapidly increasing), as early as in the middle of the 19th century more Jews than Poles lived in Łopuszno. But when did the Jews start settling in Łopuszno? It is not easy to answer this question. The Jews surely owned bars with alcohol in Łopuszno already in the 18th century. These were single families in some villages. In the registers we can find names of Jews born at the end of the 18th century in Łopuszno and these are usually repeating names of a few Jewish families. However, the reliability of the dates and place of birth is questionable because the register doesn't contain names taken from the certificates of birth but from the so called 'acts of acquaintance', which means that two witnesses who knew a person appeared before the Court of Peace (Sąd Pokoju) and confirmed the approximate date and place of birth of the person. In the records from the first half of the 19th century in the register of marriages there are no certificates of birth of Jews from Łopuszno. They are usually replaced with 'acts of acquaintance' and the witnesses were as rule two Jews from Chęciny: Moszek Honigman and Hindel Lax. There is an example of the dating back to 1820 'act of acquaintance' of Tauba Kisril, born in 1800, whose 'father Kisril Mendlowicz died and was buried in the cemetery in Chęciny and whose mother lives in Łopuszno'. There is also the 'act of acquaintance' of Szul Heymowicz. In both cases it was stated that they were 'born under the Austrian government and didn't figure on any certificate of birth.'

We should remember that the Jews were reluctant to register. In the 18th century in villages belonging to Łopuszno there lived only a few Jewish families that rented bars and sold alcohol. There were no bigger Jewish settlements and the nearest Jewish community was in Chęciny. Sometimes the registrations were done there it but involved traveling and the people registered so to say when the opportunity occurred. It is not until 1810 that the Code Civil concerning the obligation of keeping civil records came into force. Then the Jews turned their attention to the compulsory registration of births, although it was still not taken seriously. The clergy who was in charge of a parish was obliged to run the registers therefore it is possible to trace back the Jewish settlers in the records of … Roman-Catholic parishes. The parish records do not, however, reflect the natural mobility of the Jewish residents of Łopuszno because for a long time they used to register their children not only in the parish of Łopuszno but also in Małogoszcz, which belonged to the religious department of Sobków. The deaths were recorded also for example in Chęciny, where the dead were buried. An independent religious department in Łopuszno, comprising the villages of the commune of Łopuszno and Snochowice was created fairly late. The registers had been run since 1874 and only since then one could precisely reconstruct the records of births, marriages and deaths.

The conclusions resulting from the number of recorded in the registers births, marriages and deaths signify that a larger Jewish community of more than a few families of bartenders began to develop in Łopuszno about in 1820. Why?

On December 31, 1810 a vicar in Łopuszno and a clerk of the registry office – priest Tadeusz Stodułkiewicz for the first time in the history of Łopuszno recorded in the parish register the names of new-born Jewish children. The first child was Taiba Salomonowicz, the daughter of Herszel Salomonowicz, a bartender from Łopuszno. The witness was a bartender from Fanisławice – Lejba Szlamowicz, who on the same day registered his son Icyk, also born in December.

In 1811 only one child was recorded in the register – the daughter of Mendel Aronowicz, a bartender from Wielebnów, Haja Aronowicz, who died in the same year. The witnesses on the presbytery were Icyk Zendlowicz – a butcher and Mosiek Zendlowicz – a bartender from Wielebnów. In 1812 Mosiek Zendlowicz, a bartender from Jasień, registered his son Abraham. The witnesses were: Mosiek Zendlowicz and Boruch Jakubowicz.

The second child born in 1812 was Josek Herszlowicz – the son of bartender Salomonowicz. Both boys died in the same year and were recorded in the register of deaths.

Till 1817 all the records concerning the Jews in the parish registers of Łopuszno refer to a few families of bartenders from Łopuszno and the neighboring villages. In 1817 the first marriage was recorded; of Abraham Dawidowicz from Czartoszowe and Dwojra Ejzykiewicz – the daughter of Ejzyk Manela – a bartender from the same village. Icyk Zendlowicz, a bartender from Łopuszno was the witness.

The next record from 1817 concerns the marriage of Markus Spira and Ewa Ferenson. The witnesses were again Josek and Icyk Zendlowicz. It was, however, surely a registration of a previously contracted religious marriage because Markus Spira was already 36 years old and his wife 32 and they had seven children.

It is clear then that there aren't many records before 1819, which means that the Jews were still reluctant to record their names on the official list and therefore the registers do not reflect the natural mobility of the inhabitants as there were surely more children born. One more thing is worth mentioning while we talk about the demographic data: in the registries the Jewish names were recorded according to the Russian rule of 'otczestwo': the surname was derived from father's name. For example, Dwojra Ejzykiewicz means Dwojra, the daughter of Ejzyk, although her father's surname was Manela. Analogically, Abraham Dawidowicz signifies Abraham, the son of Dawid, whereas the father's name – a farmer from Czartoszowa – was Zelmanowicz. Taking into consideration the Polish tradition, where the family name is the father's surname and there is no rule of 'otczestwo', it is sometimes difficult to trace back the genealogy of Jewish families. Moreover, we should bear in mind that the Jews used different names, which makes difficult a precise identification. For example, the members of one of the oldest Jewish families from Łopuszno – the Zendlewiczes (spelled also Zyndlewicz) used later on other names: Aleksander and Rybowski.

On reading the registers we can draw the conclusion that the Jewish settlements developed thanks to the heir of Łopuszno. He was interested in development of his own villages and supported both German and Jewish colonization on his lands. Łopuszno was a tenancy village; therefore the only duty of the tenants who signed a contract with the heir was to pay annual land rents.

My theory that the Jewish settlements in Łopuszno began not earlier than in 1820s is supported by the following fact: The first reliable register of the Jewish families that I found dates back to 1820. It was then that the authorities ordered a general registration of all Jews living in villages that were occupied with craftsmanship and trade.

The register contains only 11 names of heads of Jewish families – the inhabitants of Łopuszno:

  1. Markus Spira – tenant, came from Chęciny, head of a 9-member family
  2. Boruch Dudkiewicz - from Włoszczowa, rented cows, married
  3. Szlama Zelman - from Pilczyca, provided for 5 people, workman
  4. Mirtka Fiszlewicz – from Chmielnik, provided for three people, workman
  5. Kalman Szmulewicz – workman, provided for four people
  6. Nusym Jarosewicz – from Chęciny, corn tradesman, married
  7. Mortka Szmulewicz – from Radoszyce, married, workman
  8. Moszek Chaymowicz (Heymowicz) – from Chmielnik, provided for 2 people, workman
  9. Josek Zendlewicz – provided for 5 people, bartender
  10. Icyk Zendlewicz – provided for three people, tradesman
  11. Mendel Szmulewicz – workman, single

In 18th century several Jewish families lived also in the villages surrounding Łopuszno. In Czartoszowe the family of Ejzyk Manela run a bar (7 people in the family), in Jedle – Herszla Rottenbaum (4 people), in Wielebnów Berek Mendlewicz had a farm (7 people). Also Lejba Koplowicz was a farmer in Huta Stara (family of 5 people). In Jasień Lejba Dawidowicz produced potash (5 people) and bars were run by Moszek Szjewicz (6 people) and Fajzel Szlamowicz (6 people). In the villages there lived also two workmen: Jankiel Mendlewicz in Huta Stara (6 people) and Icyk Lewkowicz in Czałczyn (5 people).

It results from the register that in 1820 Łopuszno was inhabited by Jews 47 (11 families). The majority were the immigrants from the neighboring towns and only the Zendlewiczes and Szmulewiczes had lived in Łopuszno for a longer time. The fact that three settlers didn't have children yet and two other had only one child each means that they were young, working so as to make a good start and that they had settled in Łopuszno relatively recently. This list isn't, however, complete. It doesn't include the name of Joska Wajsblum, a bartender and tenant from Łopuszno, who had run his bar since 1808. Thus, the register might have not included some other families.

The year 1820 opens a more complete record in the registers. Mejer Szlamowicz – a farmer from Józefin married Gitla Mochymowicz (the daughter of Nochym Dawidowicz, a farmer from Józefin). One of the witnesses was Lejba Majerowicz – a wheelwright from Łopuszno (He doesn't figure on any reliable official list!). That year seven children had already been registered: Rywka Abraham, Ajzyk Manela, Małka Boruchowicz, Fawid Heymowicz (the son of Moszek Heymowicz, an barber-surgeon from Łopuszno; Marek Jakubowicz was the witness – a flour merchant from Łopuszno – both names don't figure on the list of 1819), Zendel Markowicz (the son of Marek Jakubowicz and Ruchla Zendlewicz, Icyk Zendlewicz's daughter's), Abraham Zendlewicz (the son of Joska Zendlewicz – a bartender from Łopuszno. The witnesses were: Joachim Lewkowicz – a teacher and Lejba Lewkowicz – a baker), Rachel Spiro, Herszla Szmul (the son of Szmul Ickowicz, a farmer from Podlesie), who died in the same year.

Since 1821 there are more records in the parish registers. Szmul Heymowicz with Tauba Mendlewicz and Herszla Nochen with Ryfka Zendlowicz registered their marriages. Nine children were born: Dawid Boruch, Abraham Frylowicz, Szmul Heymowicz, Naftali Salomon Herszkowicz, Herszek Lefkowicz, Estera Lefkowicz, Blama Szlamowicz, Jachym Perz, and Abraham Zendlowicz.

Five people were recorded in the register of deaths: Fryma Herszlowicz, Mechela Joskowicz, Sara Szmulewicz, Rachel Zendlowicz and Małka Boruchowicz. In 1824 there were three marriages contracted, eleven children were born and three people died.

The number of Jewish inhabitants was visibly increasing.

Comparing the registers and the list from 1820 with the list made by Eustachy Dobiecki in 1842 we may observe that the influx of Jews into Łopuszno began after 1820 and a significant development of this community – the number of the Jewish population was at least tripled (from 47 to about 150 or even more inhabitants) - took place in years 1820-1842. It was surely due to the fact that in 1822 there was introduced a law prohibiting the Jews from renting bars and keeping bars in villages so the families that lost their source of income moved to the neighboring bigger towns.

What is remarkable about Łopuszno is that despite being only a small village it became a place where the Jews decided to settle. In spite of the formal ban, the bar was still run by a Jewish family. Łopuszno was either regarded by the authorities as a settlement or the owner of the estate was able to win for the people the right to disregard the car's ban on selling alcohol by the Jews in villages. In the tax files from 1828 there is the following note:

'There appeared a bartender from Łopuszno, who confessed: 'My name is Josek Waisblum, 40 years old, married. I testify under oath that as a bartender from Łopuszno I have been selling vodka under concession for twenty years /…/ I am obliged to sell 1200 gallons of frothy vodka annually, which sometimes sells well but sometimes, to my loss, it's impossible to sell the required amount. I sell vodka for 3 grosz for gallon…'”

Josek Waisblaum was still running his bar in 1842.

Only in the neighboring Czartoszowe vodka was sold by Herszel Rottensztajn, while other villages bars were run by the Poles and the Jewish bartenders moved to Łopuszno.

 

The right to an own house

Protocols of the commission determining taxes of the estate in Łopuszno testify to the fact that Franciszek Dobiecki approved of the Jewish settlements in Łopuszno because he profited financially from them. The protocols include records of mortgages concerning the houses rented by the Jews. By the strength of the mortgage deed of March 25, 1823 Lejba Zendlewicz had the right to own house number 15 and paid to the manor a rent of 36 zloty a year. In 1824 Lejba Zendlewicz (sometimes spelled Zyndlewicz) bought for 18 zloty also the right to own the house number 8 'with the right to bake bread, sell pudding and use the pastures and forests.' In the same year Haskiel Zendlewicz-Rybowski obtained the right to a house, bake bread and sell pudding. The right to rent the house number 30 in Łopuszno with the right to bake bread and trade had also Abraham Balicki by the strength of a contract signed in 1824. He paid for this right 30 zloty a year and a commune tax. In 1824 Josek Zendlewicz bought for 18 zloty the right to a house with the right to bake bread and sell pudding and by the strength of a contract signed with Dobiecki he obtained in 1828 the right to a life lease in the colony Józefin near Łopuszno.

The foregoing records show that the development of Jewish settlements was accompanied by growing popularity of baking bread, which was surely sold not only on the local market but in the neighboring villages as well. Since then Łopuszno had been famous in the vicinity for excellent quality of bread.

The fact that heir Dobiecki protected Jews from the czar's belligerent customs guards signifies that Łopuszno was a place where they could settle and develop their activity. They occupied themselves above all with craftsmanship and in the vicinity there was demand for their goods and services. One of the dominating professions among the Jews was baker but there were also oilmen, who pressed oil, stone-masons, furriers, comb makers, printers, tanners, and painters, producers of potash, tailors and farmers. It's worth taking note of the fact that in the years 1820-1840 the occupation of the Łopuszno Jews was characteristic more for a little town than for a village. The Jews earned their living above all as craftsmen and merchants, unlike the Polish inhabitants of Łopuszno, who were mostly farmers. Thanks to this factor Łopuszno was perceived not as a village but as a small town, a fact that was to play a role in the future history of Łopuszno.

The description of the peasants' duties to the heir, which was made by the gouvernment authorities in 1846, gives an exact statistical description of the village. Every peasant owned a house and a parcel, called garden, of about 2500 square meters given for life lease. On these parcels the inhabitants of Łopuszno grew mostly potatoes. The tenants didn't have any duties to the heir but they also didn't have the traditional privileges to collect brushwood and to graze their cattle in the forest. They built and repaired houses at their own expense. They also couldn't count on the manor's help in case of fire or any disaster. By the strength of the purchase contract, life lease, which were signed officially or privately with the heir, the tenants didn't have any duties to the clergy.

All the inhabitants paid taxes: hearth-taxes – 75 kopeck a year, road-taxes – 75 kopeck and a fire premium.

According to a registry officer 'because of the distance from the towns the residents of Łopuszno have in their homes rooms where they sell their wares'.

In 1846 there were 39 houses in Łopuszno, including the manor houses. Of the remaining 34 houses 20 belonged to the Jews and 14 to the Poles.

The Jewish owners of houses were:

  1. Moszek Miodownik – baker
  2. Haskiel Rybowski – workman (He was a baker a few years before)
  3. Izrael Weltman – tailor
  4. Estera Wajsblum – (after her husband's death owned a possession in the Ludwik's colony)
  5. Szulim Gruszka – tailor
  6. Abraham Gołębiowski – stone-mason
  7. Icek Linker – undertaker (owner of two houses)
  8. Kalman Gołębiowski – workman
  9. Szmul Ciapa – tailor
  10. Wolf Potasiewicz – potash maker
  11. Abraham Balicki – workman (earlier a baker)
  12. Icek Linker – oilman
  13. Szmul Frajman – tailor
  14. Abraham Cymerman – bricklayer
  15. Mojsiek Rozenwald – comb maker
  16. Zysman Gołębiowski – stone-mason
  17. Izrael Albert – oilman
  18. Gołda Cukrowicz – workwoman
  19. Majer Zylbersztajn - tailor

Thus, we can see that it was craftsmen who owned houses. A typical Jewish profession in Łopuszno was tailor – there were 5 Jewish tailors (no Polish one), and a typical Polish profession was shoemaker – there were 3 Polish shoemakers and not a single Jewish one. In 1846 there were already no Jewish bartenders, either in Łopuszno, or in the vicinity. The bar in Łopuszno was run at that time by a Pole.

It's worth pointing out that in the years 1819-1842 in Łopuszno settled a kosher-butcher, because the Jews, whose population was growing, couldn't do without the kosher meat. Also two melammeds settled in Łopuszno because the Jewish children needed elementary religious education. The Jews gathered in private houses to pray – in the house of Abram Zyndlewicz and of Joska Wajsblum.

Although the community was already clearly developed, a few dozen of years were to pass before the creation of a religious department with its own rabbi. It was, however, in the first half of the 19th century that the foundations of the Jewish community of Łopuszno were laid. It was in Łopuszno where a few dozens of Jewish families formed their 'shtetl'. Łopuszno became their home.

 

From a village to a town

'The Great Geographical Dictionary of the Kingdom of Poland and other Slavic Countries', issued in 1884 in Warsaw by Władysław Walewski, describes Łopuszno as follows: 'A village in the Kielce poviat, a commune and a parish. Łopuszno is situated near the road from Przedborze to Kielce, 28 verst from Kielce (verst is an old Russian measure of length; 1 verst equals 1,0668 km). Łopuszno has 62 houses, 828 residents, among them 587 Israelites. Łopuszno seems a small town rather than a village and is regarded as such by the local people because of the Jewish inhabitants, who are in majority, because of its being a trade center, and the because of the number of craftsmen settling there. However, officially Łopuszno has never been called a town. There is a parish church, a synagogue, a communal court and a communal office. Every Thursday there is a market.'

Thus, we can observe that as early as in 1884 Jews were known to have significantly contributed to the development of Łopuszno, which has been emphasized by the authors of 'The Great Dictionary…' It resulted mainly from the economic activity of the Jewish craftsmen. They found in Łopuszno a wealthy protector – heir Dobiecki, who willingly gave them his lands for rent. Also the Polish craftsmen were allowed to run their own business in this tenancy village.

The owner of Łopuszno, as I have already mentioned, saw in the Jewish and in the German settlers an opportunity to stimulate the typically agricultural lands. His predictions proved correct because it was thanks to the Jewish trade and craftsmanship that Łopuszno changed during fifty years from a small insignificant village into a local trade center. In 1840s, when the village began to develop, there were no markets in Łopuszno. They were abolished, like all village markets, after Poland had lost independence. In 1844 Dobiecki applied to the authorities of the Gouvernment of Kielce for restoring the right to organize three fairs a year, a privilege that had been given to Łopuszno by King August III on December 13, 1754 or alternatively, the right to organize 12 markets a year. He explained that 'Łopuszno is 3 miles from the neighboring towns (the former Polish mile equals about 7160 m), 4 miles from Kielce, while there are more than 150 craftsmen's families and colonists who have a great amount of products and goods to sell, and find it difficult to cater for food and other articles necessary for their professions, which they have to purchase in towns 3 miles from Łopuszno and in this way they lose their time.'

Dobiecki's application was supported by the Head of the Kielce poviat. However, the Interior Commission of Kielce Gouvernment rejected the application reasoning that villages weren't allowed to organize markets because it was against the financial regulations and there were enough markets in the neighboring towns. Although in the next application the heir promised to pay consumption tax for the market days, they still didn't obtain the permission. This time it was explained that markets had a bad influence on the inhabitants and the peasants, who took the opportunity to drink themselves dead drunk. The craftsmen from Łopuszno went therefore on selling their goods on the markets in Małogoszcz, Radoszyce, Włoszczowa, Chęciny and even in Kielce. The goods for the inhabitants of the vicinity were sold in private houses. Łopuszno became famous for the production of linen oil (produced by Moszek Miodownik and Dawid Zylbersatz) and for the production of ashlar used for house-building (produced by Abram Gołębiowski)

For a dozen or so years the authorities failed to regulate the matter of the markets and fairs in towns. The authorities tried to separate the fairs, where only unprocessed fruits of the earth and cattle were to be sold from the markets, as well as goods for direct consumption. It was also attempted to set one day of week for all types of markets, which would limit the tradesmen's earnings since they used to sell their products in several towns. The attempts of the authorities were unsuccessful and the markets had still been organized in the towns.

After the uprising of January 1861, which didn't affect the village, the number of the inhabitants of Łopuszno significantly increased. The peasants were affranchised and the lands they had previously used became their property, they were also exempted from their duties to the heir. The Jews in the Congress Kingdom of Poland obtained civil rights after 1862 and the right to move freely from town to town. The residents of the neighboring towns willingly settled in Łopuszno in hope to earn more money. According to the civil records the main cause for settling here was a marriage with a Jewish maid from Łopuszno.

In 1871, when the number of craftsmen and merchants in Łopuszno was already significant, the Jewish craftsmen applied to the authorities for the right to organize fairs or markets. It was one of the first applications for the organization of village markets in the gouvernment, moreover, the first one written by the Jews. It was signed almost by all Jewish inhabitants of Łopuszno: Berek Albert, Ajzyk Dutkiewicz, Izrael Weltman, Jankiel Sosnowski, Abram Wajsblum, Godel Wajsblum, Judka Wajsblum, Perec Medman, Fajwel Gołębiowski, Perec Płuciennik, Rywen Manela, Abram Rybowski, Abram Aleksander, Icio Wajsblum, Szaja Miodownik, Majer Rozenwald, Josek Cukier, Izrael Albert, Nuta Podliński, Moszek Waldsztajn, Berek Gołębiowski, Gdala Frajman, Icek Gutman and Abram Markson. The application was supported also by the Poles, among others by Jan Macander, Wojciech Bernat and by Biernacki – chief officer the commune of Łopuszno and the surrounding villages. They applied for permission to organize one fair on the first Thursday every month and a market every Thursday. The petition was supported by the fact that there were many craftsmen in Łopuszno, 11 stocks with goods to sell as well as a suitable market place. Also the village assembly applied twice – in September and in November 1872 – to the authorities for permission to organize markets and fairs. Finally, the authorities of the gouvernment agreed and on February 10, 1872 the first market took place in Łopuszno. It soon became one of the greatest and the best known markets in the Kielce poviat and even the tradesmen from remote towns came here with their goods and to buy cattle or corn. The market in Łopuszno was until the First World War the second market - after Bodzentyn – as far as the total turnover of the whole Kielce poviat was concerned. If was particularly famous for attractive corn prices.

 

A commune with a rabbi

In 1838 tailor Izrael Weltman married a daughter of Haskiel Rybowski (a baker form Łopuszno). As we remember, our story begins with him. He was industrious, resourceful and he was probably doing well because in the records, made by the authorities in 1858, according to the 'registers of houses and buildings, on which there will be imposed a hearth-tax' he already owned two houses. He was not the only one. Two houses belonged also to Hana Bielicka (her husband Abraham, as we remember, was one of the first bakers in Łopuszno) and to Rubin Manela. The undertaker Icyk Linker owned three houses. Their own houses had also: Szmul Aleksander, Herszek Berkowicz, Lejba Pięta, Ajzyk Oblęgorski, Moszek Sosnowski, Szmul Ciapa, Abram Wajsblum, Szulim Gruszka, Aba Gołębiowski, Abram Rybowski, Lejba Aleksander, Icio Wajsblum, Abram Aleksander, Icyk Markson, Daniel Frajman, Moszek Miodownik, Icyk Cymerman, Majer Rozenwald, Izrael Albert and Zyndel Aleksander. It's the best proof that the craftsmanship was a profitable profession that allowed to provide for the family and to amass a fortune.

Although the number of inhabitants was growing, the Jewish community didn't constitute a religious department, yet. There was still no rabbi in Łopuszno. The most important religious services, above all the function of a cantor leading some prayers and the supervision of the ritual slaughter were done by Chil Godel Spira. Since 1840 he had several religious functions in the synagogue in Chęciny and then moved to Łopuszno. In 1872 he asked the authorities for permission to wear traditional Jewish clothes. (This right had only clerical Jews. The rest was forced to wear the same clothes as non-Jewish people. Fines were imposed on Jews for wearing yarmulkes. As early as in 1879 Abram Wajsblum was fined 1 ruble for wearing a yarmulke and Dawid Szkło was fined 3 rubles for wearing side curls). In the petition it was confirmed that he 'moved to Łopuszno, where there is a Jewish colony which needs a religious service and he supervises all religious activities.' However, the authorities didn't find any certificates that Chil Spira had passed rabbi's exams and therefore didn't give him permission to wear Jewish clothes.

The Jewry in Poland had their own self-government. After abolishing traditional Jewish communities in the Kingdom of Poland there were created religious departments controlled by the authorities. The Jewish inhabitants were obliged to pay contributions to maintain the departments, mainly to provide for the rabbi, the synagogue and the communal officials. Until 1869 there existed 20 religious municipal departments with rabbis in the Gouvernment of Kielce. In the Kielce poviat there were only two ones: in Chęciny and in Bodzentyn. Then, there were created four other religious municipal departments. The Jews from Łopuszno, who didn't have their own department, used the services of the rabbi of Chęciny and then of the rabbi of Małogoszcz, which was part of the department of Sobków. There they registered the births and marriages. In the records of the parish of Łopuszno the registrations were done by the parish-priest, who at the same time was a registrar till 1826. Afterwards his duties were done by the clericals of other non-Christian confessions – the rabbis of Chęciny and Małogoszcz. Separate records of the Jewish residents of Łopuszno had been kept since 1874, when due to the increase of the Jewish population an independent religious municipal department was created in Łopuszno. Chaim Gotfrid, who settled in Łopuszno in 1840 after marrying Łaja Linker, worked as rabbi and registrar and taught religion. Because he didn't take the rabbi's exams for ten years, till his death in 1884, he could only be called as 'the one who performs rabbi's duties' and never became official rabbi of the community. For the next five years Jakub Feder 'performed rabbi's duties' in Łopuszno. In 1885 the chief officer of a group of villages wrote in his reports to the authorities that in Łopuszno there was no rabbi, or clericals, only members of the department and teachers. The members of the religious department were at that time Berek Albert, Eliasz Manela and Fajwel Feldsztajn.

April 24, 1888 on a meeting of the Jewish residents of Łopuszno, which was attended by 45 of the total 58 Jews having the right to vote, it was decided to give permission to hire a rabbi in the department.

In the department of Łopuszno that comprised administrative communes of Łopuszno and Snochowice lived at that time 543 Jews, including the 283 Jews in Łopuszno. In the villages belonging to this department lived already at that time: in Antonielów – 5 Jews, in Józefin – 10, in Olszówka – 37, in Czartoszowe – 6, in Krężołek – 7, in Sarbice – 10, in Jasień – 17, in Jedle – 10, in Snochowice – 39, in Korczyn – 19, in Dobrzeszów – 13, in Piotrowce – 7, in Wólka Kłucka -19, in Kuźniaki -33, in Strawczyn – 13 and in Ruda – 6.

Such society, which was relatively well-off, could already afford its own rabbi. We must bear in mind that the rabbi received a salary and an accommodation from the Jewish community.

Gabriel Abram Kopel, a 34-year-old resident of Kielce, was elected rabbi of Łopuszno. Members of the religious department (board of the commune) were: Berek Albert, Fajwel Epsztajn and Chaskiel Blumenson.

Rabbi Gabriel Kopel passed the rabbi's exam before the commission of the gouvernment in March 1888 with a 'good' result proving his knowledge of the law and the written and spoken Russian. He was appointed rabbi of Łopuszno and soon moved to Łopuszno with his wife Perla Zylbersztajn and with their children: Boruch, born in 1876, Chinda Dwojra, born in 1878 and Majer-Chil, born in 1876.

Gabriel Kopel worked as a rabbi till his death in 1910. Already in the first year of his service the rabbi received, though very irregularly, a salary fixed at 120 rubles. In 1892 in the letter of complaint addressed to the authorities he wrote that the department owed him 100 rubles for the year 1890 and 120 for 1891 and he himself was in critical conditions. The members of the board argued that because of general high costs of living it was impossible to collect the required amount from the people and the rabbi received all the money that they managed to collect.

An income of the religious department, from which the rabbi and the synagogue were provided for, came mainly from contributions to the common fund and fees for religious services, such as marriages, funerals and circumcisions, as well as from fees for the ritual slaughter. The prices of services were comparable to the prices of the department of Kielce and Bodzentyn. The costs depended on the financial standing, there were three groups. For the circumcision the richest paid 18 kopecks, the less rich 12, 9 or 6 kopecks. A funeral cost 1 ruble, 75, 50 and 30 kopecks. The funerals of children under 13 were cheaper. The marriages were the most expensive in the whole Poviat and cost 6, 3, 1.5 and 1 ruble. The poorest didn't bear any costs. The prices persisted till the end of the century.

At that time the people also had to pay for the ritual slaughter. For killing an ox or a cow the kosher butcher was paid 82,5 kopeck, for a calf – 22,5 kopeck, for a goose – 6 kopeck and for a chicken 1,5 kopeck.

In spite of the disputes about the salaries, the rabbi and the members of the commune must have maintained friendly relationships since after his death the people decided that his son Majer-Chil should be the next rabbi. On October 12, 1920 the Jews decided on a meeting to wait 1,5 year till Majer-Chil finished his rabbi's exams. The members of the religious department asked the governor for permission to postpone the election of a new rabbi until the following year and they obtained the permission. Meanwhile, from August 1910 till December 1911 Szmul Różany, the rabbi of Małogoszcz, acted also as the rabbi of Łopuszno. On March 2 Majer-Chil Kopel – the son of Gabriel – was officially confirmed the rabbi of Łopuszno.

 

Striving for a synagogue

The prayer house that belonged to Abram Gołębiowski became about 1850 property of the Jewish community in Łopuszno. For a long time it had been regarded as a synagogue of the whole society. The common prayers and the religious education had taken place there since 1813 that is since the times when Łopuszno was inhabited by a dozen or so Jewish families. In 1880 the synagogue was renovated. We also know that the prayers took place in Abram Aleksander's house. In about 1850, when the number of Jewish inhabitants of Łopuszno increased, in Icio Wajsblum's house there was created another prayer house and apart from that several families prayed also in Jankiel Sosnowski's house. This situation persisted throughout the whole 19th century. The reports of the chief officer of a group of villages to the staroste of Kielce mention only one common prayer house. In 1891 the members of the religious department – Majer Gołębiowski and Moszek Miodownik – applied to the authorities for permission to open a new prayer house in Abram Aleksandrowicz's home. Such permissions were given by the authorities rather reluctantly and for keeping unregistered prayer houses there were severe sanctions. In the communal court took place for example the trial against Jankiel Sosnowski, accused of keeping a prayer house and a religious school without permission. Rabbi Kopel and the witnesses testified that the Jews didn't gather in Sosnowski's house in order to pray and that only the Torah scroll was kept there. The communal court, under the leadership of Eustachy Dobiecki, ascertained that Sosnowski only rented a room to keep the Torah scroll and cleared him from the charge.

Not earlier than towards the end of the 19th century, after several years of striving, the Jewish community decided to build a new synagogue. It was reasoned that the old one, insured against fire for 700 rubles, was dangerous for the praying people (although the chief officer of the group of villages belonging to the commune of Łopuszno reported to the authorities that the synagogue was in a good state and that it was possible to pray in there). At the end of May 1901 the board of the department including Berek Goldszajd, Eliasz Manela and Jakub Feldsztajn obtained permission to build a new synagogue. Earlier, in 1898 they had been allowed to build on the square a Jewish mikveh - a ritual bath with water, coming either from the rain of from a source, where the Jews performed their religious ablution. Berek Albert and Fajwel Gołębiowski were to build it at their own expense in return for the right to charge fees for using the bath for the next six years. Afterwards the proceeds from the bath were to be given to the department. The cost of the new synagogue, which was built by the Jewish craftsmen from Łopuszno, amounted to 1705 rubles and 95 kopecks. The whole amount had been raised thanks to the contributions of Jews of the religious department of Łopuszno. Therefore a detailed list of the contributions was made. The residents were divided into 5 classes according to their financial standing and it was decided what amounts the members of the community should pay. The money was collected from 96 people – the heads of families. In the first group were the richest: Chaskiel Blumenson and Szoel Gołębiowski – the joint owners of the sawmill in Kuźniaki (including their partners they paid for the synagogue 300 rubles – an impressive amount for those times), as well as Moszek Epsztajn – 75 rubles, Szymon Rozen – 60 rubles, Herszel Mozes – 50 rubles, Zajnwel Wajnsztok –.44 rubles, Rywen Manela – 40 rubles, Berek Weltman – 37 rubles, Abram Markson – 42 rubles, Herszla Wajnryb - 42 rubles and Szmul Frajman – 36 rubles.

In the second group that had to contribute to the building of the synagogue were: Moszek Aleksander – 35 rubles, Jankiel Kenigsztajn – 32 rubles, Fajgla Cukier – 31 rubles, Josek Wrocławski – 25 rubles, Moszek Herszlikowicz – 25 rubles, Icek Frajman – 25 rubles, Szlama Markson – 25 rubles, Chaim Gancarski – 24 rubles, Szlama Aleksander – 20 rubles, Lejbuś Blumenson – 23 rubles, Aba Kotlicki – 20 rubles, Abram Zylberberg – 20 rubles, Nachum Rajzman – 20 rubles, Szlama Osa 18 rubles and Aba Wikiński – 14 rubles.

We can therefore see that from among 96 members of the community 26 richest craftsmen and tradesmen covered more than a half of the costs of the new synagogue in Łopuszno. The rest, the poorer were charged lower fees – from 10 to 15 rubles. We must, however, observe that also the poorest members of the community contributed to the building of the new synagogue: Jankiel Borensztajn – 1 ruble, Jankiel Płuciennik – 1 ruble, 59 kopecks, Moszek Miodownik – 2 rubles and Chaskiel Feldsztajn – 3 rubles.

In order to understand the value of the fees paid by the members of the community to the building of the synagogue it's worth giving the prices of some products. At that time bread cost 2 – 2,5 kopecks for a pound (old measure of weight equaling 350 to 560 g – in the old Russia 40 pounds gave 1 pood that is 16,38kg). A pound of the linen oil, butter or back fat cost 18 kopecks, a pound of beef – 6,5 kopecks, a bucket of vodka cost 2 rubles 20 kopecks and a bucket of spirit 3 rubles 70 kopecks. A good horse cost 95 rubles and a cow 25 rubles. A sheep on the market cost 3 rubles. A workman earned daily 30 kopecks. The comparison of the fees to the prices indicates that the contributions were considerable and constituted a strain on the families' budgets.

The money was collected by a member of the department board – Berek Goldszajd – who also supervised the building of the synagogue. He was a person above the ordinary, which we will yet have an opportunity to see. He treated his function really seriously. The collected money he located on an account, which bore interests. He was very constant and didn't even let anybody into the old synagogue who didn't pay a fee for the new one on time. But thanks to his attitude on the parcel on Przedborska Street a new, spacious, brick synagogue with a shingled roof was built in 1903. The money necessary to finish the building was raised thanks to selling grounds near Tora. His attitude wasn't accepted by many residents of Łopuszno, who accused him of driving the town to poverty with his fees. They accused him of embezzling the money that he had raised for the building. There were organized meetings of the Jewish assembly that discussed the matter. Some people defended Berek, while others, on the contrary, figured out the amounts that had disappeared. Although the majority of the Jews supported the activity of the members of the department board – Berek Goldszajd and Jakub Feldsztajn - 15 Jews wrote an official complaint about Goldszajd to the Head of the Kielce poviat and to the Governor. The letter was signed by: Majer Rechtman, Moszek Aleksander from Jasień, Emanuel Aleksander, rabbi Gabriel Kopel, Lejzor Rechtman, Chaskiel Rybowski, Chaim Markson, Izrael Borensztajn, Wolf Grinbaum, Szlama Osa, Szoel Gołębiowski, Jankiel Sosnowski, Berek Weltman, Abram Zarnowski, Moszek Aleksander from Łopuszno. The complaint was sent by post and not officially by the chief officer of the villages in the commune of Łopuszno because, as they wrote, 'Goldszajd was his acquaintance'. The investigation lasted for several years. It turned out that the accusations of defrauding the money were baseless. For example, the 240 rubles that were paid on the account brought a 10-ruble interest and were paid to finance the synagogue, just like 410 rubles from the insurance of the old ritual bath, which burnt in 1897. The members of the department board were freed of the charges by an official letter of the governor.

 

The question of cheders

As early as in 1886 the chief of the commune of Łopuszno wrote in his report to the authorities of the Poviat that there were no cheders in Łopuszno. It doesn't mean that the Jewish children weren't taught religion and the bases of the language. The Russian authorities ordered cheders to teach Russian, took those Jewish confessional schools under control and didn't allow the melammeds to teach without their permission. In Łopuszno, like in any other traditional Jewish society religion and the alphabet were of the greatest importance. As we know, already in the first half of the 19th century there were teachers in the Jewish communities and the members of the communities admitted that the prayer house served also as a school. Several melammeds taught also in their houses, a fact we know about from proceedings against the melammeds for illegal according to the authorities teaching. For example there was an action brought against Szlama Zylbersztajn, who was caught by guard Pinczewski on teaching 40 boys in his house. The guard took 7 books that belonged to Zylbersztajn and prepared a report to the authorities. Zylbersztajn tried to explain that he was only teaching a prayer and not the grammar, because he didn't know it himself as he could read only Jewish writings and therefore he wouldn't be able to run an illegal school. He appealed that teaching prayers was his only source of income. The cheders in Łopuszno were run for a dozen or so years also by Perec Medman in Zajndel Alekszndrowicz's house, by Symch Miodecki in Joska Cukrowicz's house, by Albert Charenzowski in Jankiel Sosnowski's house, by Jankiel Ryng in Wigdor Ryng's house and by Icyk Markson in his own house. The children were taught in primitive conditions, in private houses, where they didn't have a separate room for learning. After the controls the authorities responsible for education demanded closure of the cheders because of lack of room, tables, blackboards and the wrong light.

In 1887 a former resident of Chęciny settled in Łopuszno. It was Berek Goldszjd – the son of Szlama and Estera, née Wróblewska. He married Łaja Goldman from Łopuszno.

Berek had been a reservist of the 31 artillery brigade. He had worked as senior writer in the army and knew excellent Russian. On April 10, 1887 he was given permission to open a cheder, where 12 children were taught. The following year other cheders were officially registered by Symch Miodecki – he taught 13 children, by Icyk Markson – 6 children, Perec Medman – 15 children, Jankiel Ryng – 5 children and Szlama Zylbersztajn, who had the biggest cheder and taught 17 children. In order to obtain the permission they had to prepare separate rooms, tables and hang a portrait of the car on the wall. The lessons took place according to the official directions from 8 a.m. till 12. After each hour the children had a 10-minute break. From 12 till 14 they had a lunch break and from 14 till 16 there were afternoon lessons. Children under 10 had classes only till 12. They had obligatory 2 hours of Russian every day. One lesson was in the morning and the other in the afternoon. In all cheders Russian was taught by Berek Goldszajd, which was the cause of constant conflicts between him and other melammeds. It was of course a question of remuneration.

In February 1893 Berek Goldszajd wrote a report to the heads of education informing that none of Zylbersztajn's 18 pupils attended Russian lessons, of Symcha Markson's 14 pupils – only two, one from Icyk Markson's cheder and three from Jankiel Ryng's cheder. The melammeds replied that the parents didn't want to pay for teaching their children Russian and therefore they couldn't afford to hire a teacher. After an intervention of the authorities, who threatened with closing the cheders Berek Goldszajd could still teach Russian there. There were also created more cheders because more children were born. In 1896 Aba Feder opened a cheder and in 1899 – Emanuel Majer, in 1900 – Boruch Weltman and in 1901 – Moszek Jankiel Sosnowski. We also know that there were also cheders existing without the official permission run among others by Mendel Borensztajn and Perec Lewkowicz, who opened an illegal cheder in 1903 in Abram Kotlicki's house. There is even preserved a protocol of a control of that cheder, in which a school inspector wrote: 'there were 18 children but they escaped so that I couldn't write their names'. For illegal teaching of grammar Moszek Fridberg and Herszel Cherenzowski were fined 22,5 rubles.

Meanwhile, there had still been disputes concerning teaching of the Russian language. In 1902 melammeds wrote a letter of complaint about Berek Goldszajd for 'charging money without teaching', because he was still haggling and occupied with lawsuits. Berek's antagonists – Berek Weltman, Moszk Aleksander and Szaja Gołębiowski, who shortly before had written complaints to the authorities about the money spent on the new synagogue, wrote now an application to the school authorities for appointing a new Russian teacher. In response Goldszajd reported that there was disorder in the cheders and that Russian was still neglected. This accusation brought about a temporary closing of the cheders. In another application, signed by Eliasz Manela, Szlama Szyja, Berek Linker, Abram Żarnowski, Berek Weltman, Szlama Aleksander, Calel Gruszka, Szaja Weltman, Dawid Albert, Berek Dutkiewicz and Berek Gołębiowski, Goldszajd was accused not only of taking money without teaching but also of being an alcoholic and shouting at Jews with threats: 'I'm your governor and your director.'

The conflict went so far that the school authorities asked the rabbi of Łopuszno – Gabriel Kopel – to prepare a report. In 1903 the rabbi wrote that there were about 90-100 school children in Łopuszno and that it was impossible to give the exact number. There was one cheder of the first grade – for children aged 5-8, which was run by Berek Goldszajn, while actually three cheders were necessary. Similarly, they would also need three cheders of the second and the third grade – for children aged 8-10 and 10-13 so that there would be about 20 children in each cheder, since there weren't more spacious rooms in Łopuszno. Rabbi Kopel reported that Goldszajd was to blame for the conflict because he apparently wanted to open his own big cheder and therefore he informed the authorities that the melammeds didn't want Russian. They felt insecure and that's why they also started to write complaints.

The truth is that the parents were poor and they didn't want to pay both the melammeds and the Russian teacher. The rabbi appealed that the cheders should be opened again and that Goldszajd should continue teaching Russian for small fees. He asked for a prompt opening of cheders because the bored youth was hanging around the streets without any occupation while the melammeds had been left without any money.

After rabbi's mediation Berek Goldszajd announced that he didn't want to open any big cheder and that he would still teach Russian. The conflict was resolved and the rabbi committed himself to see to teaching of the Russian language according to the plan, for which Goldszajd received money from the melammeds.

As we can see, the Jews attached importance to the education of their children, at least at the elementary level. They financed several cheders, where they sent their children. It was the only possibility to educate them because there was no elementary school in Łopuszno. Such a school was created not until 1910.

 

Wanting a town

The second half of the 19th century is the time of development of Łopuszno. More and more merchants and craftsmen settled there and Łopuszno became a center of the neighborhood. In the records 351 Jewish inhabitants were registered (173 men, 178 women) and 225 Catholic inhabitants (110 men and 115 women).

According to the statistical description of Łopuszno from 1877 there were 55 houses, one stone-house and 54 wooden ones with shingle roofs. There was also a church and a prayer house, 4 bakeries, 14 storehouses with different goods, including three ones with cereal and flour as well as an inn and a bar.

The report made by the authorities of the commune of Łopuszno to the head of the Kielce poviat in 1883 enumerates all trade and industrial undertakings in Łopuszno. It is a very interesting statistical material because all undertakings, apart from the windmills that belonged to heir Dobiecki, were run by Jewish merchants.

The greatest and the most profitable undertaking was the shop with textures from Łódź run by Eliasz Dutkiewicz. The owner had a turnover of about 8000 rubles and an annual income of 800 rubles. (As we remember it was the value of 40 cows). A similar turnover and income from his shop had Eliasz Manela, who also traded with textures of the factories from Łódź.. Judka Wajsblum, who traded with household tools produced in the nearby Ruda Malenicka, had in his store a turnover of 6000 rubles and an income of about 600 rubles annually. Also Rywen Manela traded with iron tools (plough shares, forks, rakes, scythes) produced in the ironworks in Ruda Malenicka. Moszek Waldsztajn, Izrael Albert (who imported goods also from Warsaw) and Perec Rozenberg had also a turnover of 4000 rubles and an income of 400 rubles annually. They all run stores with food products and also sold candles, tea, tobacco and sugar. The goods were bought mainly from wholesalers from Kielce. Abram Kotlicki had a turnover of 3000 in his grocers. There were also smaller shop like for example the one of another Izrael Albert, who also lived in Łopuszno and traded with blacking (used for moustache and shoes) and with candles. He earned in his shop the net profit of 60 rubles annually. According to the report all the shops were located in their owners' houses; they occupied only one room and had only one entrance each. As we can see, they brought an income of about 10% of the turnover, which testifies to the fact that the profit margin was fairly moderate.

The following report of 1891 enumerates already 24 shops, including the bakery of Abram Zylberberg, who had a very low income of 20 rubles annually. The shops were run by: Berek Dutkiewicz, Nuta Manela, Eliasz Manela, Judka Wajsblum, Moszek Herszlikowicz, Herszla Strawczyński, Moszek Goldmer, Majer Gołębiowski, Moszek Albert, Herszel Dutkiewicz, Łaja Urlecht, Chaskiel Blumenson, Chawa Gołębiowska, Abram Zylberberg, Szaja Fridman, Josek Gołębiowski, Moszek Waldsztajn, Moszek Manela, Fajwel Gołębiowski, Perec Rozenberg, Zysma Gutman, Szyja Segal, Rywen Manela and Lejzor Waldsztajn.

According to this report a turnover of the shops was much lower. The biggest shop, which belonged to Judka Wajsblum, had in 1891 a turnover of only 1300 rubles and brought an income of 130 rubles. We can therefore draw two conclusions: either the owners didn't give the true value of the turnover in order to avoid taxes or due to growing poverty of the Łopuszno residents the turnover was falling. The second conclusion seems more probable. The fact that there were as many as 24 shops of small trade in a settlement with only 55 houses means that it was difficult to find other source of income than a small trade with goods bought by the local people.

In comparison, the two inns in Łopuszno, which belonged to Eustachy Dobiecki, gave a net profit of about 180 rubles a year.

In 1892 there were two linen oil factories in Łopuszno. One belonged to Abram Kotlicki, who had earlier run a shop with small goods. In the oil factory he produced 264 poods of oil annually, which he sold for 6 rubles a pood. People from the vicinity purchased the oil. Abram Kotlicki bought every year corn for 726 rubles and hired two workmen. He earned about 300 rubles annually and it was probably more than he would earn from his shop, since he decided to change trade.

The other oil factory, which was slightly smaller, was run by Izrael Albert. These were the most important factories in the whole commune because apart from the oil factories there were in Łopuszno only three windmills belonging to heir Dobiecki. Only 29 Jewish people bought the certificates of trade but nobody was in the so called 1st guild – of the richest, only two were in the 2nd guild and 27 occupied themselves with small trade. In the commune of Łopuszno there were several dozen craftsmen, among others: 26 shoemakers, 16 tailors, 4 carpenters, 3 wheelwrights, 8 blacksmiths, 1 locksmith and 2 painters. The markets in Łopuszno became the center of the corn trade in the whole Poviat. The village was developing and its residents had growing aspirations. Since the beginning of the 19th century Jews had been in majority. No wonder that for years a Jew – Izrael Weltman, whom we had met at the beginning of our story, was the village administrator. He acted his function carefully and enjoyed the support of both Poles and Jews. There were no greater incident between the Polish and the Jewish inhabitants and life was generally peaceful. There were only two important incidents. In September 1884 Herszel Weltman wrote on behalf of the Jews a complaint to the authorities about curate Ludwik Rusin for inciting the Christians against the Jews. The curate had presumably spread rumors that they would soon cut off the Jews' noses and he himself had received a letter from the rabbi, who confirmed the rumors. It's unknown how the incident ended since there were no more complaints about the curate.

The other incident was much more significant. On Thursday, April 17, 1886, on a market day, barber-surgeon Mordka Krajskopf hit in the street guard Wasyl Opielczyn. According to the testimony of Antoni Mróz 'Krajskopf hit Opielczyn with his fist, tore off his shoulder board and the sword shouting that he would kill him because he had tried to rape his daughter'. Berek Weltman said in court that 'later on Opielczyn hit Krajskopf with a club and then with the sword in the sheath.' Lejb Aleksander, Kalma Wikiński and Lejzor Rachman testified that Opielczyn was shouting 'hit the Jew!' and Szaja Miodownik, Berek Weltman, Jankiel Sosnowski and Izrael Borensztajn added that they heard Opielczyn shouting that with the Jews one could do the same thing as in Warsaw and in Kiev (it was calling for a pogrom). The writer of the commune said: 'Into the communal office rushed a crowd, guards and Krajskopf, who was shouting: “I'll kill you, you bloody dog!”' It went so far that the gendarmerie had to deal with it. A week later guards Opielczyn and Onyszenko were dismissed from the Land Service by a decision of the governor for inciting the Catholics to hit the Jews, which could have brought about riots. There was a simultaneous investigation into the case of the attempt to rape 15-year-old Chawa Krajskopf. In January 1887 the district court discontinued the investigation against Onyszenka due to lack of the evidence for his prosecution.

The above incidents signify that the Jewish inhabitants saw in Łopuszno their homeland and had no intention to give in to any persecutions and fought for their rights.

The sign of their social aspirations constituted attempts to transform the village Łopuszno into a town, which would give its residents more rights, among others the right to choose the self-government and the mayor.

In 1904 Berek Goldszajd and Szlama Gołębiowski wrote the first petition to the authorities of the gouvernment with request to transform Łopuszno into a town. They supported their request with the arguments that Łopuszno already had the character of a town; there was a commune, a parish, a religious department, a post office and well developed trade. They wrote that there were 321 Christian and 1115 Jewish inhabitants; 70 families earned their living on trade, 60 on craftsmanship and 30 on renting houses. The Thursdays' markets in Łopuszno had a turnover of 50000 rubles a year and the shops – of 40000 rubles. The craftsmanship had a turnover of 10000 rubles. In Łopuszno there were 8 bakeries, a pharmacy, a bar and a pub. According to the petitioners, it created the possibility to transform Łopuszno into a town. However, because the petition wasn't supported by the chief of commune of Łopuszno – there was no reply to the letter.

In August 1913 Jews from Łopuszno wrote another petition to give the village municipal rights.

They reasoned that Łopuszno was already a trade center with 45 different branches and that there were such institutions as the commune, communal court, post office, pharmacy and inns. Moreover, craftsmen and merchants from several other towns came to Łopuszno on weekly markets. Another argument was that the Jews weren't allowed to live in villages and that there were limitations imposed on them, whereas in a town they would have better opportunities of development, which would make Łopuszno a greater industrial center. The petition was signed among others by: Abram Płuciennik, Chaskiel Blumenson, Aron Dutkiewicz, Berek Albert, Szlama Pakuł, Berek Cukier, Herszel Wikiński, Josek Amburski, Dawid Borensztajn, Chaim Gancarski, Izrael Rajzman, Mendel Dutkiewicz, Izrael Aleksander, Zajnwel Wajnsztok, Moszek Aleksander and Abram Luftman.

They put forward above all arguments of the economic nature. Łopuszno was a village of merchants and craftsmen. There existed already three oil factories, a factory of soda water, a dye-house, and inn, bars, a wine bar and a pharmacy. There were also 6 bakeries, 4 butcher's shops and 45 different shops. 27 shoemakers produced their goods, 30 tailors, 6 carpenters, 2 cap makers, 2 wheel-wrights, mainly Jews.

The petition of Jews was rejected by the authorities because they were afraid of Jewish domination and their free settling in Łopuszno. However, in February 1914 the petition was supported by Polish peasants, above all because in a town it would be easier to trade with the lands under house building.

The Jewish inhabitants of Łopuszno waited for the authorities' decision in vain. Soon afterwards the First World War broke out.

 

At home

It was 1869. A few years before near Łopuszno insurgent battles of the Polish uprising of 1863 had taken place. The Jewish inhabitants hadn't participated in the fights. The uprising was suppressed and life in the remote village of Łopuszno returned to its normal course. The economic situation in the Kingdom of Poland deteriorated. Especially for people in the country it was difficult to earn their living. Jews, who – with few exceptions – didn't own any lands, could live only on trade and craftsmanship.

Thanks to the 'Book of permanent residents of Łopuszno' of 1869, preserved in the State Archive in Kielce, we have detailed information about Jewish inhabitants of Łopuszno. Short, casual - as they might seem – records allow us, however, to look into the houses of the Jewish families and sometimes to learn about their joys and sorrows. Reading can be compared to walking around the old Łopuszno, casting furtive glances into people's houses, of which there is no other trace now. Their houses, synagogue and mikveh don't exist any more and even the cemetery, where their bodies are buried, constitutes only a part of a small forest and hardly anybody knows that this piece of land covers bodies of several generations.

Let's look into the Jewish houses in Łopuszno, then; into the ordinary, wooden, one-storied, shingle-roofed houses, which usually consisted of two rooms. In one of the rooms there was usually a small shop with one entrance from the street and a door into the habitable room. In the houses that didn't have a shop there was a craftsman's workshop or a room of a cheder, where children were taught by a melammed. When there were several rooms in a house they were rented to other families. In the yard there was usually a small storehouse, a small shed or a hen-cote. The Łopuszno Jews didn't have lands and therefore they didn't have any cows, either. On a little field by their houses they usually grew potatoes, like their Polish neighbors.

The houses obviously don't exist any more. The numbers below are taken from the book of residents. These are old numbers of all houses in the village, given for administrative purposes. And though, basing on the records we can learn many family stories: how many children one had got, whom one married, who was widowed, who lived long and had grandchildren and who died very young. This book is an invaluable historic material. It is a trace of those who had their 'shtetl' there and whose life was connected to that place.

* * *

The house number 10 (The manorial buildings that belonged to Eustachy Dobiecki had numbers from 1 to 9).

The owner: Izrael Weltman, a tailor; a serious, dignified village administrator. In 1869 he was 58 years old. He lived happily with his wife Rywka, née Rybowska, who was mother of his 8 children. His oldest daughter, Rachela, married Aba Wikiński five years before and lived with him in nearby Sochowice. They had already two daughters: Estera and Frajndla. In the tailor's house were frisking his 7-year-old twins: Berek and Małka. The oldest son of Herszel was already 22 years old and was to get married soon. His daughter Chaja was 19 and also got married soon afterwards. Chana was 16, Estera 12 and Chaskiel was 11.

Izrael had 48 grandchildren, who later on left their homes. One of his grandsons, Chaim, the son of Rachela – Aba Wikiński's wife – had 5 children. Chaim's daughter, Dwora, married Menachem Barlev. Their son, a great-great-grandson of Izrael, Chaim Barlev, born in 1924 became many years later the Chief of Staff of the Israelite Army and the ambassador of this country in Russia. And what about of Rywka, the daughter of Rachel and Aba? She married Jakob Goldszajd, the son of Berek, a melammed. Berek was an outstanding personality in Łopuszno. And his son Jacob? He had two buses in Kielce and ran a transporting company. And what about Jacob's grandson – the son of his daughter Sura – who was named Jaacov after his grandfather? Together with his brother Moshe he started an electronic company in Tel Aviv, which had its branches in many countries. Who could have known that in Łopuszno in 1869?

The house number 15 (In the house number 14 lived the priest of the parish)

The owner: Mortka Hofman, a farmer. In 1966 he moved to Chęciny with his wife and their 4 children. In 1869 nobody was registered there as permanent residents.

The house number 21 (Houses from 16 to 20, as well as other houses, the numbers of which have been skipped, belonged to the Poles).

The owner: Herszel Strawczyński, or actually his father-in-law Łejba Pięta, born in 1842, in 1863 was in the Russian army. After his return he married Baśka Pięta and received the house as her trousseau. Lejba had two grandchildren.

The house number 25.

The owner: Ejzyk Oblęgorski, a shoemaker. Born in Rykoszyn, married Rajza, née Gruszczuńska form Radoszyce. They were doing quite well in Łopuszno. They moved in there just after their wedding in 1862. After 7 years they had four children: Nusym, Całel, Szmula and Dwojra.

The house number 26.

The owner: Jankiel Chucki (since recently Sosnowski), a shoemaker. With them lived the oldest resident of Łopuszno, Chana Sosnowska, born in 1780. Jankiel married Chaja Gruszka in 1862. They had 2 children. Also Herszel's bother and sister – Maryen and Kałman, who didn't have their own families - lived with them.

The other part of the house was rented to Josek Gutman, a 36-year-old shoemaker. He married Chana Feldsztajn and they had 3 children.

The house number 27.

The owner: Abram Ciapa, a 25-year-old workman. Son of Szmula and Frajdla, née Pięta. Frajdla's mother died in 1865. They had a housemaid, 48-year-old Chana Gruszka.

The house number 29

The owner: Abram Zyndlowicz, born in 1820 in Łopuszno. He married Elka Gotesman from Przedborze. We remember Abram Zyndlowicz from the memorable fight with the guards (his name was spelled in the records also Zyndlewicz. Abram also used the name Aleksander). His daughter Pesla got married in 1865, although she was just 17 years old.

In that big house lived also related to them family of Moszka Wajsblum – with his 7 children and the family of workman Wolf Kasza: his wife Małka née Wajsblum and their 4 daughters.

The house number 30

The owner: Herszel Dutkiewicz, a baker. He moved to Łopuszno after his wedding in 1849. He had a wife and 6 children.

The house number 31.

The owner: Judka Wajsblum – a tradesman who rented houses. He rented a flat to Benjamin Ainhort – a kosher butcher, who moved to Łopuszno from Przysucha. He was a 28-year-old father of 4 children. Another flat was rented by Lejba Miodownik, a workman and a reservist, who had 3 children. Earlier, in this house had lived the daughter of Judka Wajsblum – Hana but she decided with her husband Symcha Balicki to move to Diałdoszyce.

The house number 32

The owner: Majer Rechtman. He received that house after he had married Cyrla née Gołęgiowska. They had 3 children. Their fourth child – 1-year-old Dwojra – died in 1866. The other flat was rented by Herszel Charęzowski. His year-old son Mortka also died in 1866.

The house number 33

The owner: Perec Medman, a teacher. He was born in Chęciny in 1835 and married four years older Chana, née Gruszka from Łopuszno. They had 5 children. Perec Medman ran a cheder.

The second flat was rented by Szlama Zylbersztajn. In 1859 he married Rajza Gruszka, who died 6 years later. In 1867 Szlama married Gitla Winogard. The third flat was rented to Szmul Wolfsztajn, a wheelwright born in Łopuszno in 1808 and his wife Sara Żarnowska, also born in Łopuszno in 1812. Their first son, Izrael Icyk, wasn't born until 1859.

The house number 34

The owner: Icyk Fajwel Gołębiowski, born in Łopuszno in 1831, son of Abram, a stonemason, and Chana Aleksander. With his wife Łaja he had 5 children: Rywka, Aron, Chana, Chaim Josek and Majer.

The house number 35

It was a big house, full of children, where lived several families. The owner: Abram Rybowski, a tailor born in Łopuszno in 1821, the son of Haskiel, a baker. He had 6 children with Frajdla Fiszer: Frajndla , Jankiel, Załma, Jakub Josek, Zendel and Moszek.

The second flat was rented by Jankiel Borensztajn, a workman. He had only two children with his wife Bajla: Gitla and Dawid, who was just born at that time.

In the neighboring flat lived Załma Hersz Okowita with his wife Rywka Frajman and their 4 children: Rachela, Gitla, Sura and Szmul Berek and next to them – Jankiel Szosnowski, a shoemaker with his wife and their 3 children: 7-year-old Chaja, 4-year-old Lejzor and 3-year-old Liba.

In Abram Rybowski's house lived also Szmula Abram Zylberberg, a workman. He had only two children: 7-year-old Lejbuś and 4-year-old Gitla.

The house number 36

The owner: Lejba Aleksandrowicz vel Aleksander, a shoemaker born in 1830 in Łopuszno. With his wife Gitla he had 6 children. First 3 girls were born: Rywka, Chana and Frymel and then 3 boys: Moszek, Icek and Izrael. The other flat was rented by Szaja Szanfrucht, a 30-year-old tradesman from Warsaw. He married Myren Wajsblum in 1867 and they settled in Łopuszno together with their 6 children: Dwojra, Estera, Szlama, Chana, Cyryl and Małka.

The house number 37

The owner: Rywen Manela, a tradesman born in 1828 in Chęciny. In 1849 he married Pesla - Gołębiowski's widow. They were bringing up Hanka Gołębiowska - a little daughter of Pesla. In 1869 Hanka got married and moved to Kielce. With their parents stayed 20-year-old Dawid Eliasz and 10-year-old Bajla.

The house number 39

The owner: Abram Aleksandrowicz, born in Łopuszno in 1821. With his first wife Estera Lipa he had 2 children: Moszek and Lejbuś. When Estera died he married Kajla Okowita, with whom he had 4 children: Jankiel, Icek, Boruch and Chana Estera. The neighboring flat was rented by Icio Wajsblum, a speculator born in Łopuszno in 1821, husband of Szyfra Ajzenberg. With him lived his children: Pesla, Estera, Mnyl and Frymel with her husband Gecel and their daughter Esterka. It was the permanent address also of 24-year-old son of Icio Tonchin, who was a minor, which was an unusual occupation among the Jews.

The house number 41

The owner: Wigdor Ryng. He married Pesla Linker in 1848. He run an oil factory after his father-in-law Icek Linker. They had 5 children: Rajza, Jankiel, Gołda, Estera and Ruchla.

The house number 42

In that house lived two families. The first one – of Chaim Gotfrid, a teacher, or rather a melammed and the informal first rabbi of the Jews from Łopuszno. Chaim married Łaja Linker, daughter of Icek. They had 7 children: Lejba, Rajza, Rywka, Jankiel, Brandla, Icek and Szlama, who was born in 1869.

The other family was the one of Aba Gołębiowski. Aba, born in 1809, married Chaja – Icek Linker's widow. He was bringing up Chaja's children: Rywka, Hilela, Berek and Abram. He had also his own children with Chaja: Szweila, Chana and Grendla.

The house number 43

The owner: Izaak (Icyk) Markson. He was born somewhere in Russia. He produced potash. He had 4 children with Bajla Potasiewicz: Moszka, Chaja, Ruchla and Rywka. After Bajla's death he married Gołda Linker. He had 3 children with her: Jankiel, Uszer and Estera.

The house number 44

The owner: Gdala Frajman, a tailor. He married Gitla Minz. They waited for a long time for their first child – Icek Pinkus, who was born in 1850. They also had a daughter – Małka.

The house number 45

The owner: Szmul Frajdman, Gdala's brother. He was born in Łopuszno in 1805 and died in 1869. He widowed his wife Mindla, with whom he had 3 children: Wolf, Dwojra and Małka, who was 15 years old when her father died. Wolf Frajman, who was a tailor like his father, lived with his mother. He was born in Łopuszno in 1833 and in 1858 he married Estera Żarnowska, with whom he had 4 children: Icek, Tauba, Rachel and Eliasz. In 1869, the year that is being described here, Estera died. She was 30 years old. Her children were brought up by their grandmother.

The other flat was inhabited by Icek Guterman, a tailor from Włoszczowa, who married Dwojra – daughter of Szmul and Mindla. The got married in 1864. Their first child didn't live even a year. Their son Fajwel lived for 3 years.

The house number 48

The owner: Abram Charęzowski, born in Łopuszno in 1809. His wife Szajndla Rybowska was born in Łopuszno in 1817. There they brought up their 6 children: Frajndla, Chana, Rywka, Izrael, Chaja and Moszka.

In the other flat lived Herszel Gutman with his wife Lejwa Sułkowska from Włoszczowa and their three little children: Chaja, Rywka and Icek. Herszel's mother Fryma and his 20-year-old sister Chaja Gutman lived with them.

The house number 50

The owner: Szmul Janklowicz, a shoemaker. He lived with his wife and their 6 children: Maryen, Lejba, Mortka, Estera, Icek and 3-year-old Perla. With them lived also the family of his oldest son – 23-year-old Josek, who already had a 2-year-old son Uryś. The neighboring room was occupied by Wolf Żarnowski with his wife Cyrla and their son Mendel.

The house number 51

There lived the children of Moszek Miodownik – his son Szaja with his wife and 3 children: Sara, Izrael and Chand; and Estera Miodownik, who married Abram Wolf Żarnowski and had 2 children: son Lejbuś and daughter Itla.

The house number 52

The first room was rented by workman Nuta Podliński, his wife Nacha Zaltman and their 2 children: Załman and Łaja. In the second room lived workman Izrael Borensztajn with his wife Chana and their children: Icek and Chaja. The third room was occupied by workman Szmul Szajbowski and the fourth one – by workman Fiszel Chmielnicki, his wife Dyna and their children: Berek and Gołda.

The house number 53

The owner: Majer Rozenwald, a comb maker, like his father Mojsiek. He was born in Łopuszno in 1836. He had 3 children with his wife Rywka: Majer's brother and sister lived with them: Szmul and Łaja. The other flat was rented by Lewek Borensztajn, a tailor. With his wife Chaja Borkowska he had 6 children: Szmul, Izaak, Estera, Joska, Ruchla and 2-year-old Szlomek.

The house number 54

Belonged to Zsyman Gołębiowski. In 1869 his son Berek lived there with his wife Chana Szkło and their daughter Tauba. Chana was his second wife. The first one, Chawa died in 1867, four years after they had got married. They didn't have any children.

The other flat was occupied by Zsyman's daughter – Chaja, who married Abram Tajtelbaum from Końskie. They got married in 1859 and had 3 children: Zsyman, Ruchla and Etla.

The house number 55

The owner: Izrael Albert, an oilman. With his wife Zysla Manila he had 6 children. Icek and Berek were already married. Berek lived with his wife, Bajla Manela and their two little children. In the house lived also: Bajla, Mosiel, Sara and Chaim.

The house number 56

The owner: Zendel Zendlowicz (Aleksander), a tailor. He lived with his wife Anna Zylbersztajn and their 5 children: Rywka, Brandla, Icyk, Moszek and Mnyl. Another flat was rented by widow Gołda Miodowik, née Harendorf and her 2 children: 9-year-old Berek and 5-year-old Moszek. Her husband Szlama Miodownik died in June 1868. Six months after him died their third son, Mnyl. He was 5 months old. Their neighbor was Sura Miodownik, Szlama's sister. She married Symcha Miodecki. They had 5 children: Chaskiel, Rajza, Szmul. Moszek and Chemja. With them lived old Gitla Miodownik, born in Łopuszno in 1790.

The house number 57

The owner: Josek Zendlowicz. His other surname was Cukier. He had 2 children with his wife Hendla Ickowicz. With them lived his mother Estera, born in Łopuszno in 1808 and his unmarried at that time 21-year-old sister Chaja.

The other flat was occupied by Lejba Charęzowski with his wife Chaja, his 20-year-old daughter Chana, 11-year-old Chaim and 4-year-old Berek and also Lejba's adult son Icio Charęzowski, who married a 10 year older widow Rajzla Waserman, with whom he had 2 children: Majer and Szyfra.

House number 59

There lived only Mortka Zylbersatz with his wife Szyfra Rostkowska. Their children were already married and moved to their husbands or wives.

The other room was occupied by the Potasiewiczs.

* * *

This is what was recorded about the Jewish inhabitants of Łopuszno by a communal clerk in 1869. In 11 years' time Łopuszno, still a village, would become too small and too tight for the people and the children that have been presented by their names would start leaving Łopuszno. Some of them would move to nearby Chęciny, many would settle in Kielce, where Jews have only recently been allowed to settle, whereas some would move to other big cities, among others to Łódź, and still some others would emigrate abroad.

Towards the end of the 19th century more and more names of the Jews from Łopuszno appeared in Kielce, because the city began to develop and more and more people hoped to find work there.

However, before the children grew up and started to look for a place to live somewhere else, till the end of the century and even till the First World War the industrious and resourceful Jewish community of Łopuszno would grow in size trying to improve their standing in the Polish village and their Jewish Community.

 

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