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Translation of "Wachock" chapter from
Pinkas Hakehillot Polin
Published by Yad Vashem
Published in Jerusalem
Our appreciation to Sandy Zimmerman, who allowed us to publish
the translations which were done by Shalom Bronstein for her private use.
This is a translation from:
Jewish Communities, Poland,
Volume VII, page 167, published by Yad Vashem, Jerusalem
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(Subdistrict of Ilza, Kielce District)
Wachock, originally a Benedictine monastery, was established in the middle of the 12th century. It seems that with time more and more people settled around the monastery. In 1455, Wachock came under the ownership of the Polish monarch and King Casimir Jagiello IV granted it Magdeburg city rights. In 1461, it passed to the hands of the nobleman Mikolai Rodonsky and a group of German merchants who would come to the city for its fair days settled there permanently. In 1511, the lands of the area were sold to a German prince by the name of Matteaus.
In the 19th century a few dozen Jewish families settled in the town and in 1921, the Jewish community reached the peak of its growth - 468 people. Concerning the life of the Jewish community during the 19th and 20th centuries, we have no knowledge.
The Germans captured Wachock 14 September 1939. The battles resulted in a fire that consumed many of the town's homes. Even in the first days of the occupation, Jews were seized for forced labor. Many were utilized in repairing the damage caused by the fires, clearing the rubble, cleaning the streets and other kinds of services. As far as we know it, there was no ghetto in Wachock and the Jews continued to live in their houses until the community was liquidated. On 20 September 1942, the Germans gathered some 600 Jews in the square of the market and conducted a "selektzia" among them. Healthy young people were separated and sent to the Skarzysko Kamienna (cf.) forced labor camp, while the rest - older people, women and children were taken to the forest next to the city hall and were executed there.
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