Translated by Yocheved Klausner
Sobota belonged to the old settlements in the Mazowie Region, 25 km. from Lovicz. The settlement started in the 14th century and belonged to the Prince Zyemowit; later it was divided between other noblemen. The prince, as well as the nobleman, provided accommodations for their Jews and kept them under protection. Later, at the beginning of the 16th century, the Jews were expelled from Lovicz, by the request of the Jewoppressor Ian Lanski.
The Mazowie Region was remote and primitive. For the noblemen, the Jews were the major source of rent and high interest money and a permanent means of exploitation to satisfy the whims of the estateowners.
The names of the place, Sobota (Shabat) and of the neighboring shtetl Piontek (Friday) demonstrate that the shtetlach contained a large Jewish population: under the Jewish influence the two names were Yiddishized in the Polish language. In the old times, they used to say was that traveling by wagon and horses from one shtetl to the other took a long time, from Friday to Saturday.
Sobota was and remained a simple shtetl, and the population Jews and Gentiles was conservative and religious. The place was quite secluded, far from the railroad line, and the progress of the times did not reach it at all.
There was another shtetl in the neighborhood Beilew (Byelowy), the seat of the authority offices, where the population registers were kept.
During WWI, this shtetl was Judenrein. The last Jew, the shtetl blacksmith, left in 1921, so that Beilew was the only Judenrein shtetl in the Lowicz region since WWI.
During the First World War, the Cossacks murdered the rabbi of Sobota. The rabbi was known as a great scholar and writer. Other Jews fled to the neighboring towns, and returned only after the war.
Several fairs were held in the place during the year; Jewish artisans and shopkeepers would come with their wares and would enliven the shtetl, located in the midst of a rich farming neighborhood.
Most of the Lowicz Jews originated from Sobota; Jews had been allowed to return there at the end of the 18th century.
Close to 135 Jewish families lived in the shtetl before the war, and all shared the fate of the other Jewish settlements. Some succeeded to flee to Zhikhlin, Lowicz and Lodz, but very few escaped the Nazi slaughter. With their loss, the last trace of a Jewish settlement whose history was part of long centuries of Jewish history in Poland, disappeared.
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